Trouble with the Curve – Review
If you just want to read the review, skip to the section titled ‘Review:’ I know, real difficult, right?
I had the opportunity to see an advance screening of Clint Eastwood’s return from acting retirement last night (9/12). Usually advanced screenings or prescreens are the week of the movie’s release so it is strange that there were some reviews last week (2 weeks early) and that this was over a week before the movie releases next Friday, September 21st.
Plot A Nutshell:
If you haven’t seen the above trailer, the movie is about an aging legendary baseball scout, Gus (Clint Eastwood) who is starting to lose his vision. His old school methods and resistance to new technologies lead the franchise to question his ability to perform for this year’s draft. His daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) accompanies him on a scouting trip to North Carolina to look at a 1st round draft prospect. Johnny Flanagan (Justin Timberlake) is also in NC for a rival team looking at the same player and was a former draft pick and close friend of Gus years ago. Just watch the trailer above and you should be able to figure it out.
Trouble with the Curve is Clint Eastwood’s return to acting after he declared Gran Torino as his final acting roll back in 2008. This is Director Robert Lorenz’s first movie, although he served as a second unit director/assistant director on movies such as Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River and a producer on several others.
After seeing the trailer I was truly excited for the return of Clint Eastwood and hoping for more amazing one liners that made a bitter, racist, and elder Eastwood so great. A Gran Torino + Baseball would of be amazing, but Trouble with the Curve falls flat.
The lack of character development in the first act of the 111 min. movie just leaves you with empty characters that you don’t connect or care about. Several of the conversations between the characters seem awkward and unnatural. The audience understands there is tension between the father and daughter dynamic with Eastwood and Adams, but the conflict comes off as awkward and frustrating to watch. During several emotional scenes in the film I just stared blankly at the screen, wondering if I should feel anything for a character’s struggle. Eastwood and Timberlake are the two redeeming graces’ of the film. Eastwood has his trademark Gran Torino-esque one-liners that are sure to spark several laughs throughout the film, while Justin Timberlake excels with his playful retorts. I don’t know what happened to Amy Adams who was really hot in Enchanted and The Fighter, but she truly looks her age (not an good thing for a Hollywood production) in this movie playing a 37 year old (she is actually 38).
The baseball portion of the movie was very basic and I wouldn’t suggest major baseball enthusiasts and fanatics to go to the movie expecting a baseball movie. Yes it is about baseball, but what takes up most of the screen time is: Amy Adams and her relationship with her father, the conflict with her law firm, and a hint of the most basic of baseball terms and references for the general unaware audience.
The best indication of a good movie would be how you felt about seeing the trailer after watching the movie. The trailer is basically a highlight reel teaser of the best parts of the movie and moviegoers are hoping that it is just a taste. In TwtC it is not just the case; it is the ENTIRE movie. If you avoid the trailer you might have a better experience, but if a super-cut trailer set to uplifting music is better than the movie as a whole, you know you’re in trouble.
Overall the movie lacked heart. It didn’t have the magic that makes sports movies such an amazing, uplifting and popular genre. It will not go down in the same category as Field of Dreams, The Natural, or most recently Moneyball. The movie took on too much and didn’t have that saving grace or stand out performance to make it worthwhile. The third act had way too much crammed into it in a predictable conclusion where everyone walks off into the sunset.
My recommendation would be to save the $12 you would spend on seeing this movie in the theaters, not even buy it on DVD/Blu-Ray when it comes out, and just wait until its on TV or Netflix.
Of course this is only one person’s opinion and I expect TwtC to do okay the first week in the box office and drop off immediately after that.