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‘Trouble with the Curve’ falls short of hype

September 27th, 2012

“Trouble with the Curve” should’ve been a fantastic film containing long-awaited acting from Clint Eastwood. Instead, we get a semi-decent film, riddled with several minor errors.

The film centers on Gus Lobel (Eastwood), a baseball scout with failing eyesight. Gus’ daughter, played by the witty Amy Adams, decides to intervene and help him on his final trip to watch the high school baseball protégé, Bo Gentry. Along the way, another Baseball scout, Johnny Flanagan (Justin Timberlake) intervenes, which causes a passionate love interest with Gus’ daughter.

Shoddy plot work with great camera shots and character-buildups could be forgiven; however, the cinematography and character foundations are lackluster and satisfactory at best. The beginning tries to quickly introduce all the characters, but leaves the viewer confused and frustrated. It’s almost as though the director, who was not Clint Eastwood, wanted to explore every angle, but did so ineffectively. The manner of poor and confusing edits continued with several shots that are vaguely reminiscent of cheap security camera footage. In one scene, which tries to build tension and discover motifs, several shots end up completely destroying the momentum. Instead of a suspenseful rise, you gain a roller coaster of random film shots that seem to have been stuck together by tacky glue.

“Curve” also contains an identity crisis with its time setting. Although the hottest cellphones and cameras appear in the high-class meetings and appointments, the props department has decided to give the main characters cars that came directly from the 1950 Ford collection. The time crisis also seems to continue with several locations. Gus visits a diner that looks like the perfect place for a Stephen King novel, and he stays in a motel that rivals the Bates in tackiness. The lack of explanation of the old vehicles and outdated settings only makes one wonder about either the movie budget or the ineptitude of the props department.

What drives the movie is the acting and writing. Timberlake, who was convincing in his many screen roles, seemed to be asking for the accompaniment of “Sexy Back;” in response, several audience members could not control their grade-school reminiscent squeals. Amy Adams’ role conflict of a frustrated lawyer and disparaging daughter was superb and well-scripted. Clint Eastwood, who could have starred in Katy Perry’s summer flick and as a result would have received two Golden Globe nominations for the role, was fantastic. The dialogue between Timberlake and Adams, as well as Adams and Eastwood, is wonderful. The moments Adams and Eastwood were alone on the screen were always a fantastic hodgepodge of emotion. No matter the tone of the conversation or the setting, Adams and Eastwood have the power to drown us out completely from the ambience and focus on them exclusively.

Clint Eastwood is deemed to be one of the best actors of all time, but has frustratingly been cast as a stereotype: the potty-mouth, alcoholic, lonely old guy. Gus Lobel mimics Eastwood’s famous role in “Gran Torino,” Walt Kowalski in exact symmetry. All that’s missing is the car.

Overall, if you like baseball, Eastwood and/or a steamy Timberlake-fueled love scene, then you would probably enjoy the film. For the arts students and those who depend upon a little more than a simple plot? It would probably be better to grab a ticket for “Finding Nemo: 3D.”