Months ago, Danny and I saw the previews for “Trouble with the Curve,” which looked like surly fun, and then we watched Clint Eastwood’s silliness at the Republican Convention. So we put off seeing this movie until our disappointment waned…Even though we aren’t avid baseball fans, we enjoyed this film. We even learned a few interesting things, too…
Directed by Robert Lorenz, “Trouble with the Curve” is a predictable movie with a satisfying ending. Gus (Eastwood) is an aging baseball scout with failing eyesight. His loyal advocate and friend with the baseball team is Pete Klein (John Goodman), who talks Gus’ daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), named after Mickey Mantle, to go with her dad and be his eyes on one last recruiting trip of high school ball players. The trouble with that is the two don’t get along so well.
Mickey was six when her mother died and Gus left her with an uncle. When he retrieved her and took her with him to games and to bars, she learned a lot and it was the best time of her life. However, it did not last; she was basically on her own in high school and college. They never had a father/daughter conversation; he avoided it like the plague.
Gus is now a grumpy old man, while Mickey is a lawyer and about to become a partner in a prestigious firm. Though Klein convinces her to take a few days off, she does so reluctantly and without good vibes from her bosses. Although Gus had been, still was, a lousy father, he taught her all there was to know about baseball. As a result, her mind is an endless font of statistics, and she can play pool like a pro.
Mickey is helpful on the recruiting trip, despite her father, who will not acknowledge he needs her. His instincts for recruiting a star-potential player have not faded like his eyesight. He can hear the sounds of perfect pitches, catches, and hits, and when every other recruiter wants a young moose for their team, Gus says he has trouble hitting curve balls, which is not good for winning MLB games.
One young recruiter is Johnny (Justin Timberlake), an ex-baseball player who blew out his pitching arm. He would like to get to know Mickey better, but because of her dad she is standoffish and cannot let him close. However, Johnny is very patient and begins to win her over with Gus’ approval.
Subplot-wise…1)There is a less-competent young lawyer who is vying with an absent Mickey for the one partnership spot available. 2)Klein finds out that a modern, tech-savvy manager has sent his own recruiter out to make sure Gus doesn’t mess up by not picking the hot hitter.
Good plot, good writing, good acting, and well worth the price of admission…
Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars.