“Trouble With The Curve” – Review By Zachary Marsh (The FilmWizard)

Clint Eastwood has been more behind the camera recently rather than in front of one. His last two movies, ‘Invictus‘ and ‘J. Edgar‘ didn’t fare well with audiences, so something had to be done. After several years of focusing solely on directing, Eastwood is back to acting in a new baseball movie called ‘Trouble With The Curve.’ The reason why this movie is getting some early Oscar buzz so much is that this is his first acting role in a movie he didn’t write or direct since 1993’s ‘In the Line of Fire,’ which was highly praised when it first came out. Unfortunately, this movie isn’t the Oscar film many have dreamed for. This is a movie that we’ve all seen before at some point in our lives. Sure it has a decent narrative and Eastwood gives a good performance, everything else is just one cliché and one old man joke after another. ‘Trouble With The Curve’ is a disappointing baseball film, but families and audiences will probably eat this movie up.

Gus Lobel used to be one of the best baseball scouts there. As an old man, he is currently losing his sight and refuses to get medical help. He’s given one last chance by the Atlanta Braves to prove himself before he gets fired, so one of Gus’s long time friends gets him a little bit of help from the last person he’d ever want to talk to: his lawyer daughter whom he abandoned as a young girl. Together they scout a player who’s considered to be the latest baseball prodigy, as well as get to know an old scout of Gus’s who happens to be scouting for a rival team.

Eastwood is giving it all he’s got in this movie, and it really shows. He can pull of a believable crying scene very well, plus deliver many of his lines pretty well. However it just seemed that he was here to simply make old man jokes and stuff like that. It was actually kind of sad to see him be put down this low in his career, since many know that he is better than these types of generic movies. Sure he’s good in the movie, but Eastwood could have chosen something else to mark his return to acting in a film not directed by him. The same unfortunately goes with his two talented co-stars, Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake.

Amy Adams is a really good actress overall. She can be a clumsy damsel in kid’s films like ‘Enchanted,’ and she can be a potty-mouthed bartender in awards movies like ‘The Fighter.’ It felt like her talent was wasted in this film, just like how Eastwood was. Sure she is fine in the film, but it just felt that her presence could have been used in a film far superior to this. Same happens with Justin Timberlake, who has proved his dramatic acting chops in ‘The Social Network‘ and his comedic chops in ‘Friends with Benefits.’ He’s good in the film, but it just seems that his only purpose is to add on to Eastwood’s jokes throughout the movie, as well as be the romantic interest for Adams. The romantic part of the film is decent, but it’s really unnecessary to the story. The studio probably just added it for the sake of drawing in a female demographic. The subplot of this film, however, was highly unnecessary except for the fact that it’s the basis of the film’s title.

The subplot in this film involves an obnoxious baseball player that Eastwood’s character is trying to recruit into MLB. This plot also includes a Latino peanut boy who may have talent that nobody has seen before. From the moment the obnoxious player started talking on screen, my mind instantly drew back to one of Warner Bros. other stinkers during this year, ‘Joyful Noise.’ Like ‘Noise,’ this film has several subplots too many, and all of them come out the same way in the end: unnecessary. Can’t Warner Bros. just make films with one storyline throughout, and nothing like that. Even ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ a film I really love, had subplots that weren’t needed at all.

Overall, ‘Trouble With The Curve’ lives up to its name. It might have decent acting and a couple of funny moments, but the script is just so messy and clichéd that it makes the film feel disappointing and unrewarding. Eastwood is a good actor by all means, but he should just stick to directing from now on. Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake deserve much more, despite the solid performances. This is the type of film where critics will dislike it but audiences will eat it up like chocolate cake. Good for them, but this is just a film where I didn’t hate it, but I will probably never see it again. Hopefully everyone involved with this movie chooses a better project to be a part of next time. This movie had the potential to be a home run, but instead it ended up being a foul ball.

6.5/10

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