Friday, September 21, 2012

Trouble with the Curve

A charmless, slow drama lacking clarity, purpose, originality, directing and script worth paying attention to. Made for elderly folks and people who like their dramas wrapped up in convenient little perfectly tied bows.

Rated PG-13

for language, sexual references, some thematic material and smoking.

Trouble with the Curve

I’m done with Clint Eastwood. He may star in one of my all-time favorite films – The Good, The Band, and the Ugly – but it’s time for him to take a bow. I’m through. He can’t direct a good movie to save his life (I’m starting to think that Letters from Iwo Jima was a fluke) and he sure as hell shouldn’t be starring in them. He’s routinely playing a grumpy foul-mouthed old bastard and it takes him three times longer than the average human being to spit out a single line of dialog. And as if that’s not bad enough, his gruff voice leaves him nearly unintelligible. I wasn’t over Clint Eastwood until now. You can thank Trouble with the Curve for pushing me over.

This not-so-subtle drama begins by focusing on a stubborn ancient recruiter for the Atlanta Braves (that’s a baseball team, for all of you who wised-up, realized how boring baseball is and quit watching it long ago). This old cuss, named Gus, is still out on the road looking for new prospects, but his job security starts going out the window when he realizes that he’s losing his sight. Here’s where the subtle goes out the window. Guess what? He’s also metaphorically blind to the fact that he’s an A-hole, that he has neglected his daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) her whole life and that he’s about to be forced into retirement.

When a 30-year friend (John Goodman) realizes that something’s wrong with Gus, he talks Mickey into taking a time out from her busy lawyer lifestyle to go on the road with her estranged dad for one that recruiting trip. Being a glutton for trying to win daddy’s attention, she agrees to it and surprises him on the road. The rest of the movie consists of people sitting on benches, on car hoods and at bars talking. Talking, talking, talking. You’d think that this movie was about baseball, but no – it’s about hearing people gab incessantly.

At the 45-minute mark Justin Timberlake comes into the picture as a side character. When he and Adams share screentime, things start to pick up because a dynamic becomes present that wasn’t there before. As generic and predictable as their relationship may be, it’s a hell of a lot better than having to watch and listen to Eastwood mumble his way around the screen. The end of the road that this lengthy movie takes you to is so bad that you’d think it was from the Hallmark channel. A random character spurs a random sub-plot that allows for an unbelievably happy perfect ending.

Opening on this same weekend one year ago was Moneyball, Brad Pitt’s phenomenal flick that made baseball interesting again. Opening this weekend is movie that undoes everything good done by Moneyball. Trouble with the Curve is a daddy-daughter drama that never gets past first.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.

2 out of 5

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