Trouble With The Curve

Trouble with the curve

The trouble with TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE is that it relies on our association of Clint Eastwood’s persona as the grumpy, cantankerous grandfatherly figure with a heart, but doesn’t have enough meat in its script to merit bringing the actor out of retirement for one last public appearance.

Eastwood plays Gus as a familiar role—the aged, anachronistic traditionalist who just might have met his match as a baseball scout owing to the continued and increasing use of computers and technology to do the same work in the competitive sports industry. In this way, CURVE seems to extrapolate the setting of last year’s stupendously sublime MONEYBALL, which dealt with this setup in subtler, more meaningful ways. The similarity between the two films is limited to the settings alone since CURVE throws into the mix Gus’ daughter Mickey (the always luminous Amy Adams) a spunky, tomboyish type who shares her father’s passion for the sports but is front runner to be a partner at the law firm she works for. Struggling with the onset of glaucoma and questioned by his colleagues about his dwindling abilities, Gus is sent on a major assignment but Mickey soon follows, on the insistence of Gus’ loyal friend Pete (reliably amiable John Goodman) leading to a father-daughter road film.

CURVE does little that might be considered unique or surprising. Eastwood’s distant, reserved treatment of his daughter emanates unsurprisingly from an incident in their shared past that he regrets while Mickey’s yearning for love and her inability to commit are manifestations of her father’s conduct yet none of it is ever revealed with any skill or regard to entice viewers. Indeed, scenes of Gus at his deceased wife’s grave singing drew chuckles from the audience because of how oddly it played out. The pair of first time director Robert Lorenz (Eastwood’s regular Producer over the past decade) and first time writer Randy Brown play things so on the nose, especially during the hackneyed, improbable last act, that it destroys any of the charm of the undeniable chemistry between Eastwood and Adams. Even Justin Timberlake is given little to do, appearing lost as an ex-baseball pitcher, now turned scout who in every scene seems awed just to be sharing screen space with a living legend.

It’s a shame that Eastwood agreed to do this after announcing to the world that GRAN TORINO would be his swan song. TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE brings him back one more time to explore the great American dilemma, work or family, but uses him in such a disparaging way that every grunt, every snarl plays for cheap laughs, turning Eastwood in a caricature. This is not how anyone should have to remember an icon.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

About Faizan Rashid

A veteran Dubai based film critic, Faizan has been reviewing movies for nearly a decade. His work has been published in local newspapers such as 7days and on prestigious online websites such as MSN Arabia and