Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) has been one of the best scouts in baseball for decades, but, despite his efforts to hide it, age is starting to catch up with him. Nevertheless, Gus–who can tell a pitch just by the crack of the bat–refuses to be benched for what may be the final innings of his career. He may not have a choice. The front office of the Atlanta Braves is starting to question his judgment, especially with the country’s hottest batting phenom on deck for the draft.
Film informationGenre: Drama
Clint Eastwood is not accustomed to working for others over the past twenty years or so. He has been directing himself for that long, and only now has decided to play a role for someone else’s eye. Director Robert Lorenz has been a key cog in Clint Eastwood movies for a very long time, and Eastwood is apparently returning the favor now with Trouble With The Curve. Interestingly, Eastwood seems a bit more at ease with himself and his character given the lighter load, as he portrays Gus Lobel with ease and comfort.
Gus is a baseball scout for the Atlanta Braves that has signed every single major prospect for the organization that has come along, and now he is aging quickly out of relevance for the job. He notices that his fading eyesight is starting to affect his ability, and that all the other scouts are getting younger around him. Still, he resists the inevitable every step along the way.
Eastwood plays the gruff old man about as well as anybody ever could. You get a very harsh character on the outside but you see enough sweet and kind in him that you know the inside is full of goodness. His daughter Mickey is a high powered lawyer type that is attempting to make partner for her firm. Mickey is played by Amy Adams with charm and style, and she ends up joining Gus for one final scouting trip despite risks to her own career. Her absentee father Gus fights it, and Mickey demands it to repair what she can of her lonely childhood where daddy was concerned.
Adams keeps up step for step with Eastwood as far as bringing out the emotion in the flick. She also shows some comedic timing that worked well against Eastwood’s crusty demeanor. The two are made for one another and though it takes a little time to feel it, you end up believing they are related to one another. Adams is quickly beginning to find her way up my ladder of leading ladies I most like to see in film.
This scouting trip is to find the next huge star for the Braves and a former pitcher and current rival scout is along for the ride as well. Justin Timberlake plays Johnny, and he quickly falls for Mickey as the movie goes along. Ironically, the best parts of Trouble with the Curve are when Justin is on the screen. This guy is really starting to get this whole acting thing down pat. It is only a matter of time before Timberlake gets a true leading man part and his acting career supersedes his singing career. Either way, he is a highlight of this film and keeps the picture moving along during his limited screen time.
There are some downsides to this movie for sure. One is the fact that the movie does precious little to satisfy the baseball purists. Many different types will come to see this movie, and the baseball purists will be among them. Those salivating for a Bull Durham type of experience will be sorely disappointed. This is much more of a character driven film than a baseball film. Baseball is more the backdrop than anything else.
For those that want to watch a drama about a father and daughter that are estranged and find their way back to one another, then you will find this to be a home run of epic proportions. Clint Eastwood is so believable in his role as Gus that you will leave the theater feeling as though he is related to you as well.