At the Movies: Trouble With The Curve

Apparently somehow St. Louis recently became a reverse black hole for movie screenings, repelling the films that I want to see. Last week it was “Resident Evil: Retribution;” this week it’s “Dredd 3D.” I’m getting tired of it.

“Dredd” has even been getting mostly good reviews. So why no reviewer screenings in St. Louis? Someone around here must have done something to piss someone off in Hollywood. Was it me? I know I didn’t like the previous version of Judge Dredd brought to life, but who did? It had Rob Schneider in it, for Pete’s sake.

Ah well, let’s move on to the movie I did get to see.

“Trouble With The Curve” is the latest in the “cranky old man” stage of Clint Eastwood’s acting career. If you loved him in “Gran Torino” and “Million Dollar Baby,” you’ll love him here.

Eastwood stars as Gus Lobel, an aging baseball scout with three months left on his contract. In the big conference room, sleazy Philip (Matthew Lillard) wants to get rid of Gus and replace him with computers while avuncular Pete (John Goodman) wants to keep his old friend in the game. Team owner Vince (Robert Patrick) decides to give Gus one last chance and sends him to check out a potential future all-star.

Concerned about his friend’s future and worried that he’s keeping something a secret (he is), Pete begs Gus’ daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) to go with him on the scouting mission.

Mickey is a successful lawyer who is — wait for it — this close to being made a partner in the firm. If she wins the big case that’s coming up, she’ll win that partnership over her only competition.

She can’t possibly leave now to help her old man. Besides, Mickey has lots of daddy issues. While Gus taught her a lot about baseball, he has always been emotionally closed off. Still, her father needs her — even if he’d never admit it — and surely going out of town for a few days right before the big case won’t impact her future with the firm.

You know what this story needs? A love interest. Enter Johnny (Justin Timberlake), a young scout with a rival club. Johnny and Gus are pals from back when Johnny was a player.

I could tell you the rest of the story but you’ve probably already figured it out. “Trouble With The Curve” is nothing if not predictable. The only way you could not guess how this is all going to end would be if you’ve never seen a movie in your life.

But being predictable doesn’t make it a bad film. Many people find comfort in the familiar, and by that standard “Curve” is very comfortable indeed — if you don’t mind the melodrama. The movie has a very engaging cast — you root for the good guys and jeer at the villains. Everybody gets what’s coming to them.

The trouble with “Trouble With The Curve” is it’s a TV movie (somewhere between a classy HBO movie and a Syfy Channel original) that made it to the big screen on the strength of its cast.


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