Starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams. Written by Randy Brown. Directed by Robert Lorenz. PG. 111 min. Opens Sept. 21.
Fans of Clint Eastwood’s empty-chair riff will be thrilled to discover that the actor’s infamous speech at the Republican National Convention was actually a trailer for his new movie, in which Eastwood plays an aging baseball scout named Gus whose eyes are failing him and who spends far too much time bumping into furniture and talking to inanimate objects.
But Trouble with the Curve has more than the unfortunate timing of its release to contend with. Director Robert Lorenz’s first feature paints a picture of Gus and his relationship with his daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), in the broadest strokes possible. Mickey (named after Mickey Mantle, of course) is an overworked lawyer trying to make partner at her firm. When she decides to accompany her ailing father on a recruiting trip to North Carolina, she brings her emotional baggage with her in an attempt to coax Gus into soothing her childhood scars. She also meets Johnny (Justin Timberlake), a former pitcher turned scout who always seems to be hanging around Mickey and Gus at inopportune times.
It’s a decent premise, but a lame script and a parade of one-note characters stifle any hint of dramatic tension. This is the kind of movie where the villains drink martinis and the heroes drink beer; where you know the player they’re scouting won’t end up in the big leagues because he’s a chubby white kid with a big mouth. But, hey, that quiet Hispanic boy selling peanuts sure can throw a curve ball. If only the real world operated with such moral certainty. Like the romance between Johnny and Mickey, this movie is as predictable as a World Series without the Jays.