REVIEW (GRADE: B-)
Lightweight (but satisfying) as a family drama, and perhaps a bit too predictable in its screenplay, Trouble With the Curve succeeds due largely to the charm of, and chemistry between, its actors. Clint Eastwood stars as an aging baseball scout with failing eyesight. Amy Adams is his hardworking daughter, an attorney who jeopardizes partnership in her firm to help her dad keep to his job and his dignity. They share a nice chemistry, conveying both years of pain and an unspoken tenderness fighting to get to the surface. Surprisingly good is Justin Timberlake, as Eastwood’s ex client and Adams’ love interest; he displays a likable earnestness and sincerity that I didn’t expect from him. As the estranged father-daughter work towards reconciliation there’s little that isn’t telegraphed from the start, a couple of moments veer towards melodrama, and a major coincidence is necessary for the requisite happy ending to occur, making it feel more scripted and less earned. That said, this is ultimately a sweet film, if a bit rough around the edges, about family ties and the joy that they offer. It’s also quite funny; Eastwood in particular gets off plenty of zingers as a cantankerous old man, while Adams brings the spunk and Timberlake glows with charisma (again, I’m more surprised than anyone).
CONTENT OVERVIEW: Trouble With the Curve is rated PG-13. It has one f-word and a steady stream of moderate profanities throughout. A baseball player speaks crudely about the women he plans to sleep with when he reaches the major leagues (this is meant to establish him as an unlikable character). A pitcher speaks crudely about another player’s mother. A man acts threateningly towards men who get close to his daughter. A man strips down to boxer shorts to swim; a woman strips down to a tank top and panties and dives in as well; they kiss, but the scene is more sweet than sensual and ends there.
MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: Forgiveness heals families. Don’t underestimate the wisdom of the elderly or the innovation of the young. Be humble and accept help.