Trouble with the Curve opens with Clint Eastwood’s character, Gus Lobel, yelling at his penis for taking too long to cooperate in urinating. Gus is considered an all-time great talent scout, currently working for the Atlanta Braves, who is constantly second-guessed at work by young underlings vying for his job. His last remaining ally in the organization is his boss and longtime friend Pete (John Goodman), who begins to notice that Gus is acting differently. The truth is, Gus’ eyesight has deteriorated to the point that he can no longer back his car out of his garage with denting his bumper.
In a last-ditch effort to save his friend’s job, Pete contacts Mickey (played by Amy Adams), Gus’ daughter. The Lobels have a strained relationship that dates back to when Gus’ wife died, which caused him to send Mickey off to live with relatives after an incident at a minor league ballpark.
Mickey travels with Gus to the mountains of North Carolina to scout a high school kid that is considered a can’t-miss prospect by nearly every club in the major leagues. Gus has fought against the idea of drafting this kid, based on his reputation for being a loose cannon. Others in the organization, including a villainous Matthew Lillard, want him as the club’s first pick in the upcoming draft. Gus’ argument against the pick is reason enough for them to let the old man go. Also scouting the talent is an old acquaintance of Gus’, Johnny Flanagan (Justin Timberlake), a former pitching phenom now working for the Red Sox.
Robert Lorenz, Eastwood’s longtime assistant director on many projects, here makes his directing debut. It’s safe to say that Eastwood’s involvement helped bring this talented cast together, as the acting on display is much better than a film like this deserves. The film also marks the debut of screenwriter Randy Brown — one can only hope that his work becomes better over time. The script is truly mediocre, with too many clichés thrown in to fill time. Every child in the movie carries a baseball glove at all times. The film is set in the Smoky Mountains? You better believe there will be some clogging going on when Johnny and Mickey go out on their first date. Mickey is a female who displays a true love for sports? Be sure to feature a scene involving a male disgusted by this behavior.
The main issue many will have with the film is how inessential it is. This feels like a return to his ’80s-’90s output; if this movie had been made 15 years earlier, it would be easy to see Charlie Sheen in Timberlake’s role.
It’s a film that no one asked for, and seemingly no one is really that excited for. If baseball movies are your thing, Trouble with the Curve will only make you long for one of the classics that have been produced over the last 30 years. The movie is little better than watching an old man argue with a chair for two hours.