For one of the few times since Clint Eastwood became a director, he has chosen the act for someone other than himself.
In his first acting role since Gran Torino, Eastwood offers a somewhat sentimental father-daughter tale that has some strong moments, but ultimately is predictable and dramatically underwhelming.
Trouble with the Curve, directed by Robert Lorenz, features Eastwood as Gus Lobel, an aging but highly experienced baseball talent scout for the Atlanta Braves. Some of Lobels co-workers (John Goodman, Matthew Lillard) fear that his old-fashioned recruiting tactics, which include listening to the sound that a players hits make, are no match for modern, computerized statistics programs. On top of his stubborn age, Lobel is grumpy and has failing eyes, so his daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), joins him on his last big recruiting trip in an attempt to help him focus.
While recruiting, Gus and Mickey meet Johnny (Justin Timberlake), a rival scout who was formerly recruited by Gus himself. Though Mickey wants to help Gus recruit and reconnect with him, distractions from her demanding job, Johnny and cold reluctance from her father who denies the fact that he is too old to be scouting on his own make it difficult for her to do so.
At its heart, Trouble with the Curve is a touching father-daughter story but a rather predictable one. Eastwood and Adams have great chemistry together and portray the broken father-daughter relationship convincingly. Their relationship seems realistic, but much of the background about why their relationship is tense is a rushed over and not explained. Justin Timberlakes character makes a fun but somewhat dispensable addition to the story, as his role is obvious from the start.
In fact, from the moment the film begins, its pretty easy to guess how the entire story is going to play out. There are no twists or moments that are even remotely shocking, but sometimes its nice to have a film that leads you in the direction that you think it is going to. It is clear that Lorenz intended for some instances to be dramatic shock-moments, but they are not. Theres too little context and background for these scenes to have much of an effect on the films emotional impact.
But even though Trouble with the Curve seems predictable and underwhelming, Eastwood, Adams and Timberlake do entertain until the end, making it a fun little romp especially if youre a baseball fan.