Sports films are loaded with cliches, but what keeps us coming back? The journey. We wanted to be inspired that hard work, perseverance, and for team sports - self sacrifice bringing out the best in people (case in point Rudy). However, despite the stellar cast featuring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman and Matthew Lillard (catapulted back into the A-list by his top notch performance in The Descendants), unfortunately they strike out. An ailing baseball scout (Clint Eastwood) is supervised by his estranged daughter (Amy Adams) on his one last recruiting trip.
Debut director and staple of Eastwood's Malpaso pictures, Robert Lorenz steps behind the lens and brings with him tonal inconsistency. Like trying to mix oil and water, the chemistry of mixing the light baseball idolatry and more serious redemptive reunification of these damaged people doesn't work.
Randy Brown's script is a luddite fantasy that has Eastwood grumbling and telling technology to get off his baseball diamond, while concurrently there's serious flashes of drama in order to explain Gus (Eastwood) and Mickey's (Adams) history. The characterisations are cardboard; especially Matthew Lillard's team executive who wants to phase out the 'old school' scouts for technological solutions (because he saw Moneyball) is a smarmy and cartoonish villain.
There are some brief highlights in Trouble that you get to glimpse at the core of this old damaged man, whose body is failing his calling. Eastwood's vintage clearly hasn't only improved his directorial skills; it's honed his acting ability. However, the script does have him threatening to glass any man (except JT) that goes near Mickey (Adams).
Trouble with the Curve doesn't bury the lead whatsoever. You know where the film's going an hour before it happens and when the hard hitting raw wounds of the characters are resolved with fairy tale sunshine it feels like bandaids over bullet wounds. Trouble with the Curve is out of time and out of touch.
[rating=1] and a half
Blake Howard is a writer, a podcaster, the editor-in-chief & co-founder of Australian film blog Graffiti With Punctuation. Beginning his criticism APPRENTICESHIP as co-host of That Movie Show 2UE, Blake is now a member of the prestigious Online Film Critic Society, sways the Tomato Meter with Rotten Tomatoes approved reviews. See his articulated words and shrieks (mostly) here at Graffitiwithpunctuation.com and with DarkHorizons.com & 2SER Sydney weekly on Gaggle of Geeks.