Trouble with the Curve
Trouble with the Curve could be called Scout's Revenge. Starring Clint Eastwood as an aging scout for the Atlanta Braves whose career is imperiled by his faltering eyesight and the computer programs of a young hotshot front-office exec (Matthew Lillard), this anti-Moneyball is even dumber about the tension between eyeball and analytical evaluation in our onetime national pastime than its tonier but overrated counterpart. But it's also concerned about a lot more than that — too much probably.
The directorial debut of longtime Eastwood assistant Robert Lorenz, Trouble with the Curve is also a father-daughter story (Eastwood's striving lawyer daughter, played by Amy Adams, meets him on the road to help scout and mend old wounds), a romantic comedy (Adams sparks with ex-big-leaguer turned young scout Justin Timberlake, more believable as good-guy love interest than former flamethrower), and a road movie through the high school diamonds of the Southeast. The skeleton of this relaxed, old-fashioned film evokes Ron Shelton (Bull Durham) and, if you squint, classic Hollywood master Howard Hawks, but Lorenz struggles to juggle all the elements in a film that has too much story and not enough incident. The overly familiar psychological baggage that's teased and then revealed is less memorable than Adams' home-run trot, a fact Lorenz should have recognized and adjusted accordingly.
As for Eastwood (who opens the film in full-on crotchety mode — an old bastard with a weak flow and empty fridge), his take on getting old as humor laced with danger has its moments but isn't shaped as provocatively as in his own Gran Torino. Trouble with the Curve is an agreeable but wildly imperfect film. It's decent cineplex counterprogramming that could have been a lot more.
Opens Friday, September 21st, at multiple locations