Trouble with the Curve (2012) – Review

3 Stars

There is a quiet professionalism to be seen in the new baseball themed picture Trouble with the Curve. It has been photographed and directed in a subtle manner that is in line with the muted nature of its aging main character, baseball scout Gus Lobel (Eastwood). This is the kind of movie for people that are fond of the phrase “things use to be …” Eastwood is in Grand Torino-lite mode here as the similarly curmudgeon-ish, though less foul-mouthed,long-time baseball scout for the Atlanta Brave organization. Gus is old fashioned in his methods of picking prospects. Preferring to watch the games in person and meet with the players as opposed to using computer based analytics for assessing talent, one of the film’s many digs at Moneyball. For Gus its all about the way a kid rebounds from a 0 for four night, or if he is able to hit the cut-off man, things that a database can’t calculate.

When the youngest hot-shot scout tries to undercut Gus with the management, it’s only a matter of time before he is foreseeably forced into retirement. Much is then riding on a trip to North Carolina, where Gus is to scout the nation’s top high-school player. On top of these woes, Gus is suffering from ocular degeneration. Thus effectively rendering him useless in baseball’s modern computer age. Due to years of devoting himself to the game, Gus and his daughter have had an extremely strained relationship. Mickey (Amy Adams), who is up for partnership at her law firm, feels some dysfunctional responsibility to take care of him on the trip, despite Gus’ unpleasant behavior.

Directed by first-timer Robert Lorenz, who has served as assistant director on numerous Eastwood films, does a nice job aping the style of his aforementioned mentor. This arty, low-key film contains just the right amount of beautiful images and mythical approach to the game. The story, although too sentimental, adequately relates the trials of an aging man confronting the cynicism of big-league sports. Clint Eastwood slugs at least a triple in the title role.

Director: Robert Lorenz
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake

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