Trouble with the Curve is enjoyable but not memorable. Its problem resides in its redundancy and cliché story arcs. Likeable characters, as well as a stand out performance by Amy Adams, make up for the lack luster plots but its not enough to keep the movie from running a tad too long. The movie is honest and full of heart with a great sense of humor, but Trouble with the Curve doesn’t quite reach its mark.
Something about baseball lends itself well to the big screen. Despite my lack of interest for the sport, I thoroughly enjoyed and loved Moneyball last year. It was a great story with good commentary on the state of, not only baseball, but all sports. There was no question when I saw the trailer for Trouble with the Curve that I wanted to give it a chance. The trailer was a counterargument for the point that Moneyball tried to get across so it was interesting to see what Trouble with the Curve’s take on the game of baseball would be like.
Trouble with the Curve, starring Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams, is a story about an older baseball scout, Gus Lobel, whose job is on the line when a younger computer savvy hot shot begins stirring up the pot. When his deteriorating eyesight becomes too much of a burden for his job, his daughter, Mickey Lobel, puts aside her work to help her father. Together the two depict the fragile state of their relationship as well as a loving depiction of baseball.
Trouble with the Curve is an enjoyable film but not a memorable film. The film juggles three story arcs, intuition versus statistics, dealing with growing old, and a rocky father daughter relationship. Of the three, the father daughter relationship is the main focus for majority of the film. I was hoping to see a little more of the baseball aspect in this movie but it takes back seat in the film.
The thing that holds up the father daughter plot is the fact that it’s wonderfully played out by Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. The dialogue can be a little off but they are definitely talented enough to deliver it. The relationship between Eastwood and Adams is organic on screen and creates a believable portrayal between an emotionally distant father and his damaged daughter. The emotional past and tension is always present when they’re on screen and always seems like it is seconds away from boiling over. Amy Adams is easily the highlight of this film, and is able to keep the film entertaining.
However, this father daughter plot, as well as the other two, are all brought down by the fact that the movie plays out in an all too familiar fashion, with an ending that felt way too convenient. This makes the movie feel as though it runs just a tad long with a payoff that wasn’t sufficient enough. A lot of the scenes with Adams and Eastwood are redundant with little to no progress in their standoff past. It would help if these arguments revealed more about their past at least a little but each argument always ends much like the last. That being said, this movie is a feel good movie so it does do its job in that respect but I don’t see it as a movie I could watch over again.
Another complaint I had was that they didn’t hammer home the intuitive love of the game that they showed in the trailer. It doesn’t help when nearly all of the characters associated with the baseball side of the story are unlikeable. The main athlete they are scouting for the entire movie is egotistical, annoying, and extremely disrespectful. The coaches encourage the wrong behavior, talk down to the kids, and pander to the better athletes.
Minor Plot Spoilers
There’s even a scene in the movie where a player takes a hit at bat for fear of screwing up the game for the star athlete. The following scene is the star player hitting a home run, bringing in the player that got hit, to home. As the team runs out on the field to celebrate the first kid that got hit runs to home raising his hand to high five his teammates. However, they ignore him in favor of the star athlete leaving the less talented player to walk off field unnoticed. Arguing for the love of the sport with scenes like this seems to be counterproductive. The scene is humorous but it sends mixed messages. The movie was set up to be a great counter point to Moneyball but it grazes over this opportunity.
End Plot Spoilers
The most enjoyable part of the movie is that even though the plots seem misguided it’s still humorous and heartfelt at its core. The witty banter between Timberlake and Adams was fun to watch and helped bring home the feel good tone. Their relationship develops on screen and often makes the movie feel more like a romantic comedy then a baseball drama. Eastwood brings a funny insight on transitioning into the later years of his life with clever jokes and some physical humor. John Goodman’s character, Pete, is a lovable friend to Gus and is a good compliment to Gus’ standoffish and reserved nature. Together all four of these actors create honest and likeable characters.
Trouble with the Curve is enjoyable but not memorable. Its problem resides in its redundancy and cliché plot arcs. Likeable characters, as well as a stand out performance by Amy Adams, make up for the lack luster plots but its not enough to keep the movie from running a tad too long. The movie is honest and full of heart with a great sense of humor, but Trouble with the Curve doesn’t quite reach its mark.
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