"Trouble With the Curve" is a baseball dramedy that telegraphs its pitches. We see them coming long before they cross the plate.
It has the faded twinkle of late-period Clint Eastwood, embracing, one more time, his role as America's Coot. He plays a chatty old cuss named Gus Lobel, legendary Atlanta Braves scout. His boss (John Goodman) ticks off the superstars he discovered and insists "Gus could spot talent from an airplane."
But he's an anachronism, a "feel" and "sound" guy in an age of computer-accessible statistics. And he's losing his sight. The new punk in the clubhouse wants him put out to pasture.
Gus has an ambitious and blunt daughter (Amy Adams), a 33-year-old lawyer gunning for a firm partnership who has ambivalent (at best) feelings for the old man but is cajoled into joining Gus for one last spring scouting trip to the Carolinas. That feels contrived because it is.
Randy Brown's script underlines "foreshadowing" with a magic marker, adds "big secrets" to relationships and shoehorns in sentimental slop. And the directing is leisurely through it all. Eastwood would have done it differently.
But as the star, he stumbles. Still, like baseball itself, this is meant to feel out of its time.
What: "Trouble With The Curve"
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman
Directed by: Robert Lorenz
Running time: 111 minutes
Rated: PG-13 for language, sexual references, theme and smoking