Trouble With the Curve- Movie Review by Ben Lane

                 WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT YOU

In modern day cinema, it is easy to notice fresh new faces that are emerging into the art form. Names like Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises), Taylor Kitsh (Friday Night Lights, John Carter), and Chris Hemsworth (Thor, The Cabin in the Woods) should ring a bell. Regardless of how many new faces are shining for the future of movies, we must never forget the names and faces of those who have had the larger impact already. But, it is impossible to compare any old face of cinema to that of Clint Eastwood. Eastwood, who has acted in/directed movies for over sixty years, continues to pump out movies that are actually good and is one of the few that deserves his name as an American legend. Famously known for his many masterful films, two of which are The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and Dirty Harry, Eastwood has made a name for himself over the years, which is why it is no surprise when his movies still do remarkably well at the box office. This weekend, Clint Eastwood stars alongside Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake in the baseball centered film Trouble With the Curve and, while I can say the performances are all around great, it is the script that actually lives up to the first word in its title.

After seeing the first trailer for Trouble With the Curve, I can honestly say I was immensely excited for it. I am not a fan of baseball but, like a lot of other film lovers, I do enjoy baseball movies. After watching the insanely talented Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill deliver Oscar-nominated performances in last year’s spectacular Moneyball, baseball films have been something I have really enjoyed watching frequently. Added to list of reasons I was excited for this film is the cast. I have always loved Clint Eastwood films, ranging from the western Unforgiven to the Oscar winning film Million Dollar Baby to 2008’s hilariously effective Gran Torino. Also, the film stars Amy Adams (The Fighter) who, along with her incredibly good looks, is a very talented young actress who obviously has a bright future ahead. Also in the cast is the surprisingly talented Justin Timberlake (The Social Network) who has been extremely effective in proving to his haters that he has a lot to offer in the acting field. Some other good actors tag along in the film, and it all led up to me eagerly anticipating the release of this movie. And while I can say this is a good, worth watching movie, it certainly isn’t one of Eastwood’s best.

There are a lot of problems with Trouble With the Curve than you may expect when hearing about the cast and crew, but the film also has lots of good aspects as well. The best aspect of the movie, by far, is Clint Eastwood’s performance, matched with Amy Adams’ performance, tied together with some of the best father-daughter chemistry I have seen in a long time. It is obvious that Clint Eastwood has a thing for father-daughter themes, given that he directed, and acted alongside Hillary Swank in Million Dollar Baby, and while the latter is a better film overall, the chemistry between Eastwood and Adams in Trouble With the Curve is unmatchable. There was never a moment in this film when I thought that they were just actors and not an actual father and daughter. Another positive aspect that ties along with those two performances is the rest of the performances. Yes, the performances are good all around here, especially from Timberlake, who seems to be popping up in a lot of movies these days. Matthew Lillard does good work here along with the always great, never aging, John Goodman. Another plus for the film is the way the characters were written, specifically Eastwood’s and Adams’ characters, and the history they have is well put together and effective. The movie is also very funny, ranging from some good jokes to the always funny Clint Eastwood grunts and phrases. There were only a few times when Eastwood’s want-to-be-clever lines didn’t make me laugh; other than that, it was nonstop laughs when he was onscreen.

All that aside, the movie in itself is far from great. It is actually nothing more than a predictable, overlong, yet well acted piece of cinema. There are two main aspects of Trouble With the Curve that really impact its overall consensus. One being that this is Clint Eastwood’s first time acting in a film under someone else’s direction since In the Line of Fire back in 1993. Sure, this film is directed by Robert Lorenz who has produced multiple Eastwood films in the past, but, in my opinion, this film could have been better if Eastwood was also in the director’s chair. Perhaps that aspect is only my opinion, but I’m positive the next aspect is in agreement with many other critics’ opinions. The script is too predictable. There was literally nothing that happens in this movie that isn’t seen coming two scenes away. This may not be a complaint for your average movie-goer, but for me, someone who critically analyzes movies, it would have, and could have been much more effective if there were some surprises; and, given that Eastwood was involved, I sort of expected more effective. Another flaw with the movie is the actual baseball action. It is filmed pretty bad and it features very poor editing, such as a bat hitting a ball which causes extremely overloud sound effects that will often times make you cover your ears. Another flaw in the film, for me, was Amy Adams’ side plot involving her occupation as a lawyer, and how overlong it made the movie feel. Every time a scene came on involving her and job, it was truly boring and I think the film could have been shortened and no one would have cared.

There are many more cons, but also many more pros, so in the end I will balance it out and say this movie is pretty good. It is certainly not a bad film. At all. If you can get over the predictability of the script and some poorly edited baseball scenes, you should be able to enjoy it. If you just go into it expecting nothing more than a touching father-daughter story with some great performances and many, many funny moments, you should enjoy Trouble With the Curve.

Grade: B-

Run Time: 110 mins

Rated: PG-13 for language, sexual references, some thematic material, and smoking

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Matthew Lillard, and Robert Patrick

Writer(s): Randy Brown

Director(s): Robert Lorenz

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