Trouble With the Curve
dir Robert Lorenz
scr Randy Brown
prd Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Michele Weisler
with Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Matthew Lillard, Robert Patrick, Joe Massingill, Ed Lauter, Bob Gunton, Peter Hermann, Scott Eastwood, Jay Galloway
release UK 30.Nov.12
12/US Warner 1h51
Trouble With the Curve
Workaholic: Timberlake, Eastwood and Adams

goodman lillard patrick
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Trouble With the Curve A badly overwritten script reduces what might be an intriguing exploration of ageing into a trite inspirational drama. And bland direction doesn't help bring it to life, even if there are some strong performances and the essence of a solid story.

Gus (Eastwood) is a venerable scout for the Atlanta Braves who refuses to admit that he's going blind. His boss (Lillard) is only interested in computer stats, but of course Gus knows better. So does his daughter Mickey (Adams), a high-powered lawyer up for partnership in her firm. And although she can't bear to be around Gus, she takes a few days off just before the case of her career to help him scout an arrogant teen pitcher (Massingill). On the road, she meets charming former player Johnny (Timberlake) who takes her mind off everything.

This is one of those films that doesn't trust the audience to think through anything themselves. Every plot point is so obviously announced that even the climactic twist is clear 90 minutes before it happens. And since it lacks subtlety, the film's messages - about ageing gracefully, mending relationships, using your skills while you've got them, never underestimating the old ways - feel flabby and underdeveloped.

Still, there are some enjoyable performances. Eastwood plays the grumpy old man effortlessly, growling under his breath before shifting right on cue into introspective sentimentality. It's hardly a stretch, and the character is so thinly written that there's nowhere for Gus to go, but Eastwood makes him watchable. Adams finds some terrific moments along the way, flashing her intelligence and energy exactly when the film needs it. And her scenes with Timberlake, convincing as a nice-but-dull has-been wannabe, have a spark of chemistry.

Undemanding audiences will probably enjoy the film's loping pace and gentle narrative. They won't care that the big issues that drive the plot are never remotely addressed. And they certainly won't mind marginalised roles nicely played by the likes of Goodman, Lillard and Patrick. They'll leave the cinema with a wry smile on their face, even though they've already forgotten almost everything about the film. But later even they might think that maybe it's time for Eastwood put this character out to pasture.

cert 12 themes, language, some violence 26.Nov.12

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