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Review: Trouble With the Curve

Submitted by on October 8, 2012 – 2:24 pmNo Comment

*I don’t think we’ve ever reviewed any of the guys’ movies here before. To be honest, I don’t know if it’s advisable to say this is going to be a recurring feature because we always want to stay positive about the guys and that makes it sometimes difficult when subjectively looking at a film. But Justin does an incredible job in ‘Trouble With the Curve.’ If you were on the fence about seeing it in theaters, I highly recommend it as a Justin fan. – Liz*

Clint Eastwood decided some time ago to adopt the persona of a bad ass actor who doesn’t give a wit about what other people think of him. This plays to his strengths as an actor when it comes to movies like ‘Gran Torino’ and ‘Million Dollar Baby.’ It did not, however, serve him well in ‘Trouble With the Curve’ – a movie that can’t decide whether it wants to be a feel-good baseball movie, a family coming together movie or a romantic comedy.

This is the biggest issue with ‘Trouble With the Curve.’ The almost two hour movie continues to drag on to try to tie up all of the loose ends it creates along the way.

At it’s core, the movie is a coming of age story – albeit an old age instead of the normal teenage movie – where Clint Eastwood’s character, Gus, comes to terms with the fact that he isn’t as young or healthy as he once was. His daughter, Mickey, played adeptly by Amy Adams, also grows into acceptance that her father needs her help even as he may try to maintain his macho attitude. Gus is a scout for the Atlanta Braves heading to the “Carolinas” to check out the top seeded recruit, Bo Gentry. Mickey joins him on the trip, much to her father and law firm’s chagrin, to keep an eye on his health and help him out with the scout. Through it all, Gus realizes that Mickey misinterpreted his reasons for some of his actions as she grew up while he was trying to “keep her safe” while he lived on the road. Mickey realizes that she has some of her father’s gift in finding true talent.

The baseball theme of the movie is really just the vehicle to allow Mickey and Gus to grow closer while explaining away some of Gus’ hardened exterior. However, it’s also the antithesis of 2011′s Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill drama “Moneyball.” In Moneyball, the benefits of a computerized system of picking baseball players – no matter how crazy it may seem – were extolled. In ‘Trouble with the Curve,” that same computer program exalted by Matthew Lillard’s character goes against the true art and talent of scouting players. The baseball sequences with Bo Gentry are simple and only serve to advance the story which make it a pleasant distraction from watching Eastwood stomp around and growl at everyone.

But where does the romantic comedy – and our most important character on StillNSYNC – come in? Justin Timberlake plays a former pitcher scouted by Gus who hits the road to scout  after an injury. Timberlake’s Johnny doesn’t want to be a scout, it’s a means to an end to try to become a game announcer for the Red Sox. As the only two younger people on the road, it’s quite obvious that Johnny and Mickey will be thrown together romantically. What wasn’t as obvious was the incredible chemistry that Adams and Timberlake have together.The two breathe life into the movie, making it a dynamic, three dimensional story. As their relationship grows, we’re able to see more into Mickey’s character, while Johnny’s character is revealed more through his interactions with Gus.

While Timberlake’s other romantic lead outlet – 2011′s Friends With Benefits with Mila Kunis – was admirable, funny and entirely enjoyable, there were times when he came out of character and the “real” (or at least the Justin that is known to us) Justin seemed to shine through instead of Dylan Harper. This was mostly an issue due to the “Closing Time” sequence when Justin, the singer, came on screen instead of Dylan the man who was joking around with his friend. That wasn’t the case here. ‘Trouble With the Curve’ marks the most comfortable Timberlake has seemed on screen since “Alpha Dog,” a remarkable feat since he was acting opposite one of the best actors of a generation in Eastwood. He slid into his character with ease, never overacting a scene and making you forget he was “Justin Timberlake, former member of *NSYNC and solo singing superstar.”

As a Justin fan, this movie is tops. He’s fantastic in the role and it’s nice to see him grow in his abilities as he continues to take on more and more roles. As a movie fan, though, it’s not really a movie that’s a “can’t miss” in theaters – the script is stilted at times, the breadth of themes is jumbled, and watching Eastwood just seems like you’re watching an old, crabby man walk around his house and kick things – but Adams and Timberlake redeem the movie enough to make it watchable.

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