Dec 14 2012 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Trouble with the Curve
There’s a famous saying relating to my favourite sport, football, in reference to players and managers returning to clubs for a second spell — you should never go back.
But the legend that is Clint Eastwood obviously pays no attention to this suggestion as, four years after claiming his lead role in Gran Torino would be his acting farewell, he is back in front of the camera.
He plays ailing baseball scout Gus, who takes daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) along on a final recruitment trip.
Trouble with the Curve is a long way from Clint’s best movies, but the one-time Dirty Harry is on fine form to boost what is a predictable and gentle tale.
The opening scene sees Gus struggling to pee, walk into a table and eating spam as the familiar story of an ageing bull out to prove he can deliver one more hit begins.
Eastwood hands over the directorial reigns he has found himself so comfortable with in a string of hits to long-time assistant Robert Lorenz (Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby).
This is Lorenz’s directing debut and writer Randy Brown also makes his big-screen debut with the script.
If you’re looking for a story of the in’s and out’s of baseball, then you’d be better off checking out top Brad Pitt movie Moneyball.
Trouble with the Curve’s strength lies not as a sports film, but on the estranged relationship of a father and his daughter.
Sure, there’s some old school versus modern techniques banging of skulls, and a sprinkling of romance and baseball, but the movie’s heart and soul is Gus and Mickey’s embattled bond.
Eastwood reprises the gruff and grizzly role perfected in previous work Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino, but gentler than his last role.
Adams matches him by standing out in a male-dominated world and though the two have troubles to overcome, there are many hints at the love they share, best exemplified by a very sweet scene where Mickey hits a home run.
You have to wonder, though, would a career-hungry lawyer on the verge of a firm partnership really take days out of her schedule to spend time with her father?
Justin Timberlake is on decent form too as a rival scout Johnny who catches Mickey’s eye.
But I certainly could’ve done without the twee dates the two share.
John Goodman (Pete) is loyalty personified as Gus’ friend Pete but Matthew Lillard’s ‘boo-hiss’ computer-obsessed Phillip is severely one note stuff.
Trouble with the Curve is sickly sweet at times, but genuinely touching in moments; Gus’ visit to his wife’s grave a prime example.
It’s slow-paced, harmless fare with an ending to put a smile on even Clint’s grumpy face.
And is this the last we’ll see of Clint Eastwood the actor?
If we’re lucky, then don’t bet on it...