12A Trouble With The Curve

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Ageing baseball scout Gus Lobel is seen as old-fashioned and inflexible by management at the Atlanta Braves. To see if Gus is still worthy of his reputation, his boss Pete sends him to North Carolina to scout an exciting new prospect and insists that Gus's daughter Mickey accompanies the old man. She discovers that Gus's eyesight is failing and he has kept this secret from his employers for fear they will consign him to the scrapheap. So Mickey becomes her father's eyes as he searches for the next big thing.

Like a fine wine, Clint Eastwood gets better with age. Now in his early eighties, the screen icon and Oscar-winning director continues to work tirelessly behind and in front of the camera. Some of his best work has been reserved for the past 10 years including Million Dollar Baby with Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman, Letters From Iwo Jima and Gran Torino, in which he plays a cantankerous Korean War veteran. Eastwood essays another short-tempered curmudgeon in Trouble With The Curve, a beautifully crafted sports drama that is as every bit as old-fashioned as the leading man. Scripted by Randy Brown, the film marks the directorial debut of Eastwood's long-time producing partner Robert Lorenz, who wisely chooses to focus on the actors. He is rewarded with terrific performances from Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake and the prolific John Goodman, and of course Eastwood, who grimaces and growls with aplomb. He clearly relishes the role of an ageing, technophobic baseball scout, who takes one look at a hotly tipped pitcher and scoffs, "I've seen all this guy's got. My daughter can throw better than that!" Gus Lobel (Eastwood) is considered old-fashioned and inflexible by management at the Atlanta Braves, including General Manager Vince Freeman (Robert Patrick) and his sidekick, Phillip Sanderson (Matthew Lillard). "We all hate to think it. He may be ready for pasture," coldly remarks Phillip. However, the club's scouting chief Pete (John Goodman) trusts Gus and fully supports the decision to send Gus to North Carolina to assess a slugger with attitude called Bo Gentry (Joe Massingil). Pete asks the old man's daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), to accompany her father on the trip. She discovers that Gus's eyesight is failing and he has kept this secret from his employers for fear they will consign him to the scrapheap. With a big promotion on the line, Mickey joins her father on the road, becoming his eyes as he searches for the next big thing. In the process, Gus and Mickey cross paths with former pitcher Johnny 'The Flame' Flanagan (Justin Timberlake), who now works as a scout for the Red Sox. The young pretender takes a romantic interest in Mickey and threatens to distract her from the serious business of scouting. Trouble With The Curve is predictable and at times pat but there's an undeniable pleasure watching the stellar cast tease out the best in each other. Eastwood and Adams are a fiery double-act, wringing genuine tears from their characters' miscommunication, and the romantic sub-plot with Timberlake doesn't smear on too much gooey sentiment. Scriptwriter Brown throws his own curveball in the closing minutes as Gus makes his decision about whether the Braves should bid for Bo Gentry, neatly stitching together plot threads so there's a comforting sense of closure for us and them.

  • Genre: Drama Romance
  • Cast:Clint Eastwood, Chelcie Ross, Raymond Anthony Thomas, Ed Lauter, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Amy Adams, Robert Patrick, Matthew Lillard.
  • Director:Robert Lorenz.
  • Writer:Randy Brown.
  • Country:US
  • Duration:111
  • Official Site:troublewiththecurve.warnerbros.com
  • Release:30/11/2012
Trouble With The Curve

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