Trouble With The Curve Movie Review
In TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE, Clint Eastwood plays Gus, a curmudgeonly, old veteran, trainer, profiler, astronaut baseball scout that is slowly getting pushed out of his job with the Atlanta Braves in favor of younger, more modern scouting techniques. His friend (played by a severely underused John Goodman) senses something is wrong with Gus and in an effort to help him out, enlists Gus’s daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) to accompany Gus on a road trip to check out a top prospect. While scouting this prospect, Gus and Mickey run into Johnny (Justin Timberlake), a former pitcher that’s doing scouting for the Boston Red Sox on the same player Gus is watching. Mickey and Gus have several father-daughter issues they have to work out and Mickey and Johnny strike up a romance, setting up TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE as a relationship movie disguised as a baseball movie.
I can only assume that director Robert Lorenz and writer Randy Brown think audiences are idiots. That’s the only reason I can come up with for the constant beating over the head they gave us with every aspect of the film. The screenplay is like something you’d write in an introduction to screenwriting class where every emotion is spoken aloud to make sure the audience gets it and all dialogue is kept to a fourth grade level, just to make doubly sure the audience can follow along. Even though TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE starred four good to great actors, they didn’t have to actually do any acting because the dialogue covered anything that may be left for them to convey with their performance.
Gus, Mickey, Johnny and even Pete are likeable characters, but all of them lacked any real depth. The film revolves around Mickey and her issues with her father, baseball and men, but since everything was spelled out for us at every turn, the audience never really got a chance to know her or care about her situation. It’s like if a stranger came up to you and told you every bad thing that had happened in their life; would you care? But if that same person was just sitting by themselves crying, you might be curious about what happened to them and maybe you’d want to know more. That’s how I felt with TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE; I didn’t have time to care about anyone because every character was so busy telling me what was wrong. There’s a scene very early on where we see Gus crying at his dead wife’s gravesite and instead of being emotional, it came off awkward and unnecessary; we barely knew him at this point and until that scene, we didn’t even know he had a dead wife. Like most of the sentimental moments, the scene tried too hard, which could be said for the entire film as well.
If the sappy, safe tone of the film didn’t nauseate you for the first two acts, then the third act will deliver the knockout blow. All the “villains” get their due, all the “heroes” get a Hollywood ending and every single plot point gets wrapped up with a nice little bow. They couldn’t leave anything unsaid and if it didn’t make sense to wrap up a particular point, they forced it in anyway. The relationship between Mickey and Johnny didn’t have to end like a Disney cartoon. I’m reminded of the ending of GOOD WILL HUNTING when Will had to go see about a girl. It wrapped up his character but also left it open for the audience to decide what happened next. TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE needed something like that and although Lorenz has studied under Clint Eastwood as an assistant director for his last several films, it would be good for him to go back to other films and learn how not to beat an audience.
I’m obviously being hard on TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE, but with this cast and a pretty decent story, I expect more. I think it will end up being a crowd pleaser for those looking for an interesting, safe relationship film that has a running sports story, but for those looking for more out of their films will be disappointed.