Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: December 6
The title of this film alludes to a baseball problem that is very real, but no one is prepared to see. It’s ironic since The Trouble With The Curve fails to rise as high as it might because its producers seem to have been unaware of their own ‘trouble with the curve’.
Clint Eastwood plays grouchy Gus, a baseball scout whose career is fast approaching home plate. He has developed macular degeneration and blurred patches now obscure the finer movements of the players he’s evaluating. Yet this is not Gus’s greatest blind spot. Amy Adams plays his only daughter Mickey who, despite her baseball star name, has become a successful attorney on the verge of a partnership. However she sets aside her career to go on the road with her father one last time, ostensibly to assist him in making the right call over a crucial player, but actually to confront a problem Gus seems unable to see. Mickey’s mother died when she was six and since then her father unconsciously done everything he can to put distance between them. Can she make him see the pain he is causing her while they still have a relationship to recover?
Clint Eastwood playing a cranky man coming to terms with old age won’t surprise cinemagoers. It’s a persona he’s been developing since Heartbreak Ridge through Million Dollar Baby and on to Gran Torino. However Trouble With The Curve lacks their magic, probably because Eastwood is not occupying the director’s chair. It appears the film’s creative team have assembled a collection of A-grade actors but been blind to the need for a good script. Eastwood gives the film’s most moving performance beside his wife’s grave, yet the overall story fails to engage. Gus and Mickey’s relationship lurches along without any real development and so a dramatic reveal about Amy’s past and her father’s eventual vindication end up feeling tacked on. It’s sad since choosing worthy goals for our families is a life lesson well worth the price of admission.
Gus devised a life for Mickey that protected her from peril but also walled her off from any real relationship with her father. He tells Mickey that he didn’t want her to have ‘life in the cheap seats’. Her reply is a perspective check for every time-poor parent:
“Spending every waking hour watching baseball with my dad? Eating all the wrong food, playing pool, staying up too late. They were the best seats in the house.”
Trouble With The Curve highlights that we might hit a home run when it comes to providing a stable home, a safe environment or an excellent education, and still miss the ball as parents. So much of what Jesus had to say about life focused on separating the good from the truly excellent. He advised the parents of his day that God knew how to give good things to His children as well as they did; He isn’t the sort of father who hands over a stone when we ask for bread. But the good gifts aren’t the relationship, they’re the expression of it. In the end Gus has to learn that heart-deep communication is the real goal, and likewise “… how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”