Director: Robert Lorenz
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman
Trouble with the Curve is flawed, and is in need of a burst of energy.
Gus, played by Eastwood, is an aging baseball scout who might finally be put out to pasture. Concerned about Gus’s well-being, his boss and friend Pete (John Goodman), enlists Gus’s estranged daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) to keep an eye on him in North Carolina while he’s scouting prospects. Mickey and Gus’s relationship has been strained since she was a child. Their tense history and rocky relationship comes to a head while in North Carolina. Along the way, Mickey falls for Johnny (Justin Timberlake), another baseball scout and aspiring sports broadcaster.
The film never knows quite what it wants to be. It starts off as a drama driven by the relationships between the characters, but quickly morphs into a romance and sports film because of its mass of differing subplots. The editing doesn’t help these plot issues—if anything, it makes them more evident with choppy scene changes and a sporadic narrative.
Despite being a presumably stereotypical, unintelligent, southern American, it’s doubtful any given character can come up with a better insult than “peanut boy.” Such a script feels horribly contrived and ridiculous—and the reason behind Mickey and Gus’s troubled relationship is skimmed over and makes little sense in the scheme of the film.
The performances, however, are one of the very limited positives of Trouble with the Curve. Eastwood has perfected his grumpy old man, yet when he sings “You Are My Sunshine” to his wife’s tombstone, no other scene pulls at your heartstrings as much. Timberlake proves that he is a capable actor, but is stuck playing a one-note character. Goodman also turns in a solid performance.
The film’s true star is Adams. Her character struggles throughout the film as she tries to convey a sense of authority while still being emotionally broken in her dealings with her father. Scene after scene, the audience empathizes with her character and with a stronger script.
Even these great performances cannot save this film from being a poorly written, disjointed mess. The film would be much more fulfilling if it lacked subplots, and more segments of the main story were fleshed out. This movie doesn’t knock it out of the park, but rather barely makes it to first base.