Not far into Trouble With The Curve, Clint Eastwood kicks over a table and grumbles at it in his old man way, “B***h.” First time screenwriter Randy Brown and first time director Robert Lorenz probably thought nothing of it on the set, nor in the process of editing. But it’s the most memorable moment of this film. That’s not only a statement on how forgettable this good-hearted sports-drama venture is, but it’s a testament to the wonderful irony that is Clint Eastwood talking to an inanimate piece of furniture. People will laugh in theaters across America when the film opens on September 21, I guarentee it. Trouble WIth The Curve follows Clint Eastwood’s Gus Lobel, an aging scout for the Atlanta Braves who suffers from a poor relationship with his daughter and ailing eyesight. When sent down to North Carolina to scout an up-and-coming hitter, his daughter tags along, forcing them to try to make amends, and scout out players together.
There’s talent at play in the cast of this film, and that’s an odd thing for me to comprehend. Each and
every one of the leading players in this movie has been in fantastic movies (even Timberlake, i.e. The Social Network) and I have to question the attraction each and every one of them had to this Lifetime movie-esque script that seems to stuff as many cliched plotlines into one hour and fifty minutes as it possibly can. First off, we have the living legend, the hottest thing in the news nowadays it seems after he talked to a chair at the RNC, Clint Eastwood. While Eastwood is fine in the film, and it’s often funny just to see the grumpy way in which he composes himself, his character isn’t much beyond grumpy old man. The same is said for the serious, determined, business-like woman with hidden daddy issues that Amy Adams plays, and I’m not sure Timberlake had more than one dimension in his character at all. The good thing, however, about all these characters, is the fact that they are all elevated 100% beyond Lifetime movie-level bad because there’s geuninely great actors in the roles here, you even have John Goodman showing up. Why? No clue, but he’s there, and he’s good. Adams, Eastwood, and Timberlake are all good too, as they usually are, but it’s the flat characters and dialogue that really drag them down. However, they manage to keep them up more than other actors probably could. If there’s one thing fantastic about Trouble With The Curve, it’s the casting agent.
I’ve already hinted at my issues with the plot here, but now I’ll spell them out for you.Trouble With The Curve seems to have trouble with telling a story that we haven’t seen before, so instead, it takes about four or five that we have seen before, cuts them to down to the essential, or just bare bones, moments and hands it to us with an uninteresting visual palette. The stories presented here include: dealing with a deceased spouse/mother, father-daughter estrangement issues, a straitlaced girl meets a wild card guy, an old man facing retirement, and an underdog baseball story. These plots are all ones that we have seen before, and we know how they go. It’s actually incredible that Trouble With The Curve hits each and every story beat for each one of them and manages to still make it feel like nothing consequetial has really happened by the end of this movie.
Unfortunately, paired with a weak story is a rather weak script, with flat dialogue that even the talented actors at the helm of their characters can’t heighten. In the end, Trouble With The Curve won’t go down as the worst movie of the year, and it certainly won’t get anywhere near the best. It’ll just be kind of there, unacknowledged, and not particularly special. Just show me Clint talking to a chair again.
FINAL GRADE: ★★★★ (4/10 stars)
FINAL SAY: Though elevated by talented actors in the leading roles, Trouble With The Curve is a sappy melodrama weighed down by flat dialogue and a multitude of cliched story-lines.
Trouble With The Curve will arrive in theaters on September 21.