Friday, September 21, 2012


(Dir. Robert Lorenz, 2012)

Sure, every critic will mention it, but Clint Eastwood’s embarrassing crazy-old-man-yells-at-chair speech at the RNC a few weeks back doesn’t at all get in the way of his new film being a good old-fashioned cornball crowd-pleaser.

Eastwood, with his crotchetiness played to greater comic effect than say in GRAN TORINO, plays a baseball scout for the Altlanta Braves who is going blind, so he may be in his final season on the job. As his daughter, Amy Adams (also in THE MASTER opening today) joins him on the trip against his wishes, to help out.

Meanwhile, back at the home office, Matt Lillard, as obviously a jerk for the audience to hate, wants Eastwood out of the game, and his boss, a grimacing Robert Patrick, might agree. But luckily Eastwood has a friend in the Braves’ organization in the form of John Goodman pulling for him.

Another friend, Justin Timberlake as a retired pitcher now doing the scouting thing too, runs into Eastwood at a game, and immediately has eyes for Adams.

It’s a comfortable ole baseball glove of a commercial movie, where everything falls exactly in the place you’d expect. With only a few current topical references, its script, by first time screenwriter Randy Brown, feels like it was written in the ‘90s when old people were first becoming troubled by the idea of a computer run world. Clint’s line about the “interwebs” attests to that.

In that way it’s like a gruff counterpoint to last year’s MONEYBALL, in which old school on the spot skills are favored over statistical analysis. So much so that I expected Clint to take a baseball bat to a laptop OFFICE SPACE-style.

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE, throws no curves story-wise, is full of cheesy clichés, and was completely filmed in Georgia, despite being mostly set in my home-state North Carolina, yet I still found it highly likable.

Eastwood’s growling and grunting through his part is amusingly affecting, and Adams, along with Timberlake both put in warm and fuzzy performances. And if you want your film to be more likable, casting Goodman is always a good idea.

Robert Lorenz, whose first film as director this is after many assistant directing duties, provides Eastwood and co. with a sturdy vehicle that has plenty of cornball charm, and isn’t too sappy. It’s not a home run, but it’s a perfectly pleasant stroll around the bases.

More later...

1 comment:

Dan O. said...

Adams, Eastwood, and Timberlake all do fine jobs in their roles, but the script really carries them down when it decides to go back to formula. You can see everything coming a mile away with this one. Nice review Daniel.