Starring: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Robert Patrick, Scott Eastwood
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Genres: Drama, Sports
Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) has been one of the best scouts in baseball for decades, but, despite his efforts to hide it, age is starting to catch up with him. Nevertheless, Gus-who can tell a pitch just by the crack of the bat-refuses to be benched for what may be the final innings of his career. He may not have a choice. The front office of the Atlanta Braves is starting to question his judgment, especially with the country's hottest batting phenom on deck for the draft. The one person who might be able to help is also the one person Gus would never ask: his daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), an associate at a high-powered Atlanta law firm whose drive and ambition has put her on the fast track to becoming partner. Against her better judgment, and over Gus's objections, Mickey joins him on his latest scouting trip to North Carolina, jeopardizing her own career to save his. -- (C) Warner Bros.
When Clint Eastwood got smart and realized he couldn’t pull off the aging action hero anymore he switched gears and created a new iconic persona, the grumpy old man with the gravely whisper of a voice who reluctantly lets his emotions break through his hard veneer.
This persona served him spectacularly in two films he directed, Million Dollar Baby and Grand Torino. It still works, but to a lesser degree, in Trouble With the Curve, directed by Eastwood’s long-time producing partner Robert Lorenz.
Eastwood plays veteran Atlanta Braves scout Gus Lobel, who discovered many of the Braves top players over the years, from Dale Murphy to Chipper Jones. However, in this “what have you done for me lately?” world, he is being pushed out the door by the young guns who make personnel decisions using statistics and computer analysis rather than keen observation in the field. In the movie Moneyball, which championed the new wave of sabermetrics, the old-school scouts were ridiculed; this movie reverses that process.
Grumpy Gus is losing his sight, so when his pal and director of scouting Pete (John Goodman) sends him out to check out the latest can’t-miss prospect, Pete asks Gus’s daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) to go with him. Thus, the movie becomes a father-daughter bonding film, with Mickey wanting to confront abandonment issues and Gus wanting to duck the showdown.
Justin Timberlake is along for the ride as Johnny, a scout for the Red Sox, and as the most perfunctory of romantic partners. When Johnny and Mickey go for a night swim, I suddenly wished this were a horror movie and something was lurking under the water to take Johnny under.
Eastwood and Adams are fine together, and as a baseball fan who agrees with the traditional side of the scouting argument, Trouble With the Curve is acceptable lightweight entertainment.