‘Trouble with the Curve’ is an argument against stat-recruitment
Poor Clint Eastwood has taken a hell of a beating in the last couple weeks. If you’re looking for jokes about him talking to an empty chair or the pants he wears up to his chin, you might be disappointed here. Eastwood still has his dignity on the silver screen — even despite the opening scene in this film, in which he’s cursing his manhood to perform the simple function of urinating. When he’s in on the joke, it’s less of a cringe-worthy moment, though it’s still something you feel like you shouldn’t be seeing.
“Trouble with the Curve” is the anti-”Moneyball.” Eastwood plays Gus, an old-school baseball talent scout who can spot a talented player from a helicopter, according to his friends. With upstarts committed to the church of stats as a means of recruitment, Gus feels the heat from his employers to land a star player before his contract runs out. But Gus’ body has other plans. Aware of his failing eyesight, his daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) begrudgingly accompanies him on what may be his last scouting mission. Along the way, they cross paths with charming Red Sox recruiter Johnny (Justin Timberlake).
The film has enough wry humor to come off as self-aware, but the schmaltzy set-up and a few poorly written scenes threaten to turn the entire thing into a forgettable mess. Much like the character of Gus himself, the film teeters between relevance and has-been status. But Eastwood’s still got it, especially with our favorite line of the film: “Get out of here before I have a heart attack while trying to kill you.”