Trouble With the Curve
Wholly predictable yet serenely enjoyable, "Trouble With the Curve" opens with Gus, the aging
It's an amusing bit, acknowledging the character's late-autumn locale along life's urological timeline. In addition to the usual aggravations, Gus' eyes are failing, and he's dealing with it by not dealing with it, or telling any of his colleagues. His scouting contract expires in three months. He's sent to
"Trouble With the Curve" lays each conflict and chapter out neatly, no surprises, as Mickey joins Gus in
These three are extremely pleasant screen company. Eastwood growls his way through a variation on the rugged individualist and part-time vigilante audiences adored in "Gran Torino." Here, though, the material's lighter and more easygoing. This is the first time since "In the Line of Fire" 19 years ago that Eastwood has acted in a movie he didn't direct. But "Trouble With the Curve" is a family affair, with Eastwood's longtime producer
"Scouts, good scouts, are the heart of this game," Gus says defiantly at one point. "Moneyball" be damned! In clear contrast to that film, which was sympathetic to the low-budget team-assembly concept of sabermetrics and computer-crunched analysis of baseball, "Trouble With the Curve" throws its lot in with the intuitive old-timers, here played by Eastwood,
Of course the movie is sentimental. A fairy tale? Yes, it's that too. Satisfying? Yep.
The key, I think, is the restaurant scene between Adams and Eastwood where she confronts him about how she was, and wasn't, raised by Gus. It's played by both actors with minimal fuss and maximum honesty. I wish the film had the guts to leave Gus' failings be; the script takes an easier way out by hanging his actions on a long-ago incident, alluded to throughout, in eerie flashbacks recalling Eastwood's own "Mystic River" and "The Changeling." Often a movie's attempt to rationalize a tough character ends up softening him in untruthful ways. That said, you don't go to "Trouble With the Curve" for a heavy dose of truth. You go for a little truth, and a little baseball, and the soothing reminder that things sometimes change for the better.
"Trouble With the Curve" Movie Trailer
MPAA rating: G.
Running time: 1:40.
Credits: Directed by
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