"Trouble With The Curve" - The Reviews Are In!

Clint Eastwood. Baseball. Amy Adams. Evil computers. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, some of them anyway. The movie doesn't open until Friday around noon. There will be more!

Trouble With the Curve stars Clint Eastwood as a scout with failing eyesight and Amy Adams as his cute (I'm guessing) plucky (ditto) daughter, and I think maybe Jonah Hill's MacBook plays the villain. We'll know for sure this afternoon, as our own Grant Brisbee is going to see the movie -- yes, during work hours -- and file an after-action report.

In the mean time, excerpts from a few of the more reputable reviews we could track down ...

In The New York Times, A.O. Scott describes Trouble as an "easygoing, unsurprising movie", but apparently worth seeing if only for Amy Adams alone ...

Regrettably, it is not a home run or a perfect game, but it isn’t a wild throw, an errant bunt or a dropped fly ball either. “Trouble With the Curve” is either an off-speed pitch that just catches the edge of the strike zone or a bloop single lofted into right field. The runner is safe. The movie is too. Crack open a peanut and flag down the beer guy.

--snip--

In the larger scheme of things “Trouble With the Curve” may be an exhibition game, with nothing much at stake, but Ms. Adams brings the heat. She swings for the fence. Snags the line drive, tags the runner and makes the throw to the plate. Find your own metaphor.

Marc Mohan, Oregonian

link

"while competently filmed, is one of the most lifeless and predictable movies you're likely to see this year." But wait, there's an explanation! And a zinger!

The movie wants to be the antithesis of last year's smarter, exponentially more compelling "Moneyball," spouting sentiments like "Anybody who uses a computer doesn't know a damn thing about baseball."

Even if it had sports smarts, though, "Curve" would be hobbled by a plot in which every development is as obvious as a hanging breaking ball from a washed-up middle reliever.

If this does turn out to be Eastwood's valedictory, he can at least claim it's a step up from his first credited movie role. That was 1955's "Francis in the Navy," in which a talking mule had the lead, so that's not saying much.

In The Chicago Tribune, Michael Phillips is quite a bit more kind, writing the movie is "wholly predictable yet serenely enjoyable" ...

Of course the movie is sentimental. A fairy tale? Yes, it's that too. Satisfying? Yep. The key, I think, is the restaurant scene between Adams and Eastwood where she confronts him about how she was, and wasn't, raised by Gus. It's played by both actors with minimal fuss and maximum honesty. I wish the film had the guts to leave Gus' failings be; the script takes an easier way out by hanging his actions on a long-ago incident, alluded to throughout, in eerie flashbacks recalling Eastwood's own "Mystic River" and "Changeling." Often a movie's attempt to rationalize a tough character ends up softening him in untruthful ways. That said, you don't go to "Trouble With the Curve" for a heavy dose of truth. You go for a little truth, and a little baseball, and the soothing reminder that things sometimes change for the better.

In The Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan is happy to see Clint Eastwood -- who sort of announced his retirement from acting after making Gran Torino a few years ago -- back in front of the camera.

This amiable, old-fashioned film is no world-beater, but it underlines why, appearances with empty chairs excepted, it is always a pleasure to see this man on the screen.

--snip--

No one wants Eastwood to reinstate his retirement from acting decree, but with that possibility in mind look out for a scene where Gus counsels a younger player named Billy Clark about the importance of family. If that moment plays with more intimacy than you might expect, that's because Billy Clark is played by the actor's son, Scott Eastwood. It's a nice touch to go out on, if it comes to that.

As a public service, we skimmed a bunch of other reviews. Conclusion: On the four-star scale, this one earns either two or three stars, depending on whether you think the considerable talents of the principal actors outweigh the limitations of the hackneyed, predictable script.

On the off-chance you haven't already seen it a hundred times, here's a trailer for the movie. You know, in case you want to decide for yourself.

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