Sports movies have been used as metaphors for life for as long as I have been alive. So in many ways there is nothing “new” about the new drama TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE. What this one does have though is not only a very strong cast who work well together but also a nice blend of humor and tender moments. It is certainly one of the few father/daughter films in the genre and one that may make dads step back and reevaluate some things; if they take the time.
Gus (Clint Eastwood) is a veteran baseball scout who has signed more top notch players than anyone. He knows the game inside and out and more importantly can ready the man as well as the talent. He has devoted his whole life to his occupation and wants to do nothing else. But old age, failing health, and young tech savvy execs may be the end of his career. When he goes out for what could be his last prospecting mission his estranged daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) tags along to watch over him. This could be their last chance for reconciliation and for Gus to make amends for never being there as a father; all while trying to keep his job.
This film can’t rely completely on the baseball background. Though there are lots of behind the scenes looks at the ins and outs of scouting the bread and butter of this film is the father/daughter relationship. You have to be able to buy into the characters and engage in their struggle. If you lose that then the movie just becomes a bunch of stats and baseball trivia. Adams is very strong and her backbone and fiery stare easily matches that legendary steely gaze of Eastwood. The love/hate relationship the characters have solidifies the story line. It is one that can be related to.
The third wheel in this acting cog is Justin Timberlake as a rookie scout who idolizes Gus almost like a father. When Mickey catches his eye he finds that she is no easy out. As always Timberlake has this ability to seem so comfortable and at ease on screen that you like him instantly. His character and Mickey spar constantly with their baseball trivia which adds a fun dynamic to the drama.
TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE is rated PG-13 for language, sexual references, some thematic material and smoking.The main issue to be aware of is the language. Clint spews an expletive per sentence and though they may be mild in nature they are still there. His character is a gritty, road worn guy facing extinction in the world he loves. The language is understandable and not gratuitous. But many might find it distracting.
I give it 3.75 out of 5 stolen bases. They took it beyond the typical feel good sports movie and although there is plenty to feel good about it is also a very moving story about a man at the end of the road and the regrets that he has to get through. A strong date night film for older couples or for a chance for buy dad’s to grab their older daughters and spend some time together.