Clint Eastwood has old man troubles in Robert Lorenz’s directorial debut, the baseball drama “Trouble with the Curve”. Of course, calling “Trouble with the Curve” a baseball movie is missing the point. It’s a family drama dressed up with baseball stats. The film features the usual rock-slid performance from Eastwood that you’ve come to expect, along with the equally rock-slid Amy Adams, and a surprisingly not sucky turn by pop star turned actor Justin Timberlake. “Trouble with the Curve” arrives on DVD and Blu-ray December 18, 2012 courtesy of Warner Home Video.
Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) has been one of the best scouts in baseball for decades, but, despite his efforts to hide it, age is starting to catch up with him. Nevertheless, Gus-who can tell a pitch just by the crack of the bat-refuses to be benched for what may be the final innings of his career. He may not have a choice. The front office of the Atlanta Braves is starting to question his judgment, especially with the country’s hottest batting phenom on deck for the draft. The one person who might be able to help is also the one person Gus would never ask: his daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), an associate at a high-powered Atlanta law firm whose drive and ambition has put her on the fast track to becoming partner. Against her better judgment, and over Gus’s objections, Mickey joins him on his latest scouting trip to North Carolina, jeopardizing her own career to save his.
The first time we see Eastwood’s Gus in “Trouble with the Curve”, he’s in the john, making demands of himself. You know, down there, over a toilet. That about sums up the character — pushing against the twilight of usefulness, but he’ll be damn if he’ll go down without a fight.
Eastwood is Gus, a baseball scout whose eyes are going. He’s still the best at what he does, even if he can’t really see anymore. Of course, management isn’t in the business of keeping around old guys who can’t see, and young whipper snapper Matthew Lillard, Gus’ younger, computer-savvy counterpart, doesn’t miss an opportunity to remind everyone of this fact. It’s a good thing Gus has Pete (John Goodman), an old buddy who realizes Gus needs help and calls in Gus’ workaholic lawyer daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) for some middle inning relief work. Obviously Gus wouldn’t be the cranky old fart that he is if he immediately gave in to Mickey’s interference. And besides, they’ve been estranged from one another for years for a reason. It helps, of course, that Mickey is just as bullheaded — in work and life — as her father.
At times overly sentimental and mostly predictable, “Trouble with the Curve” is nonetheless always entertaining. Both Eastwood and Adams are great, and even Justin Timberlake, as a young scout who shares a history with Gus, somehow manages not to detract from the film. Honestly, though, I’m not sure adding a love interest for Mickey was even necessary. This is a story about a father and daughter reconnecting, and at times Timberlake’s character feels shoehorned in. But he’s not too much of a distraction, and Eastwood and Adams really do wonderful work.
There’s no action or explosions or car chases in “Trouble with the Curve” (though there is a car crash), but I enjoyed it nevertheless. Eastwood, now pushing into his ’80s, is always excellent in these type of roles, and it’s really interesting to see him work across from Adams, an up-and-coming actress who has never been short of excellent in all of her roles. If you’d like to take a break from the action and blood, give “Trouble with the Curve” a shot. If nothing else, it’s got some really great inside baseball about, well, baseball.
The Blu-ray Combo Pack arrives with “Trouble with the Curve” in standard DVD and Blu-ray, along with an Ultraviolet option for those of you who like taking your movies with you. The film is short on bonus content, with only a pair of featurettes to keep you busy. “Trouble with the Curve: Rising Through the Ranks” focuses on Eastwood and the film’s director, Lorenz, who has worked with Eastwood as assistant director/second unit director on “Million Dollar Baby”, “Mystic River”, and “True Crime” to name just three. “Trouble with the Curve: For the Love of the Game” focuses on Eastwood’s young co-stars, Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake as they discuss their characters.