Trouble with the Curve Blu-ray Review
Baseball scouts can’t be merely good, just like the team they’re hired by can’t be. They have to win and scouts have to be able to bring in young players to help them do so. Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) was one of the best, having shined the spotlight on some of the Atlanta Braves’ finest players.
But he’s gotten old. He has problems peeing, eats Spam for breakfast and, worse, can’t see how he used to. Vision, it turns out, is a major asset when your job involves watching. The times, too, have changed, and the honchos at the Braves clubhouse (namely a ladder-climbing suit played by Matthew Lillard) don’t think a man Gus’s age (somewhere around 80, going on Eastwood’s own age) can keep up with the new system and see no desire to renew his contract. He has to prove he’s worthy in a 21st-century world, and so is coached by a longtime friend (John Goodman) to give it one more shot out in the bleachers with his binoculars.
Along for the ride is his daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams, charming as always), an attorney on her way to making partner at her firm. To save her father’s career, she has risked her own. That’s sweet, especially since there’s a good chance she’ll have to change her old man’s diapers at least once. Also in the mix is a subplot involving a young scout/aspiring sports broadcaster named Johnny Flanagan (Justin Timberlake, a strong addition) who starts a romance with Mickey.
TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE is the directorial debut of Robert Lorenz, who’s been working with Eastwood since the ‘90s and earned two Oscar nominations for producing MYSTIC RIVER and LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA. It’s clear Eastwood trusts Lorenz, as this is the first movie he’s acted in that he hasn’t directed since 1993’s IN THE LINE OF FIRE. But Eastwood should have been a bit more cautious in choosing this role. Gus Lobel is just another out-of-touch mule, like Eastwood’s previous lead, Walt Kowalski. Eastwood’s faith in others (and himself, as was the case with GRAN TORINO) seems misguided. He’s not trying—he’s just illustrating through his work that he’s not what he used to be, that his performances create one-note caricatures that do little more than growl, bitch and ham it up. (Wasn’t he supposed to retire from acting a few years ago?)
TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE is meant to be another adored Eastwood vehicle, one able to put keisters in theater seats. The movie doesn’t work as such. It also fails as a behind-the-scenes movie about baseball in all the places Bennett Miller’s MONEYBALL succeeded. TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE works better as a look at the relationship between father and daughter. Indeed, Eastwood and Adams have terrific chemistry and are convincing and comfortable in their roles when they’re onscreen together. That, and the supporting turns from Timberlake and Goodman, is where TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE is good. Everywhere else, the movie is about as compelling as a foul tip.
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The video presentation for TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE is very good. Everything from the bright greens of the baseball fields and the darker interiors to the clothing textures and Eastwood’s wrinkles are presented naturally and with detail.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; French Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. The audio is also strong, with clean dialogue and solid effects (notably the cracks of bats and the bar sequences) throughout.
Rising Through the Ranks (4:37): This featurette looks at the professional relationship between Clint Eastwood and Robert Lorenz.
For the Love of the Game (6:02) focuses on Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake and their characters.