Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) is a gritty, old school baseball scout for the Atlanta Braves. Although his successful years and draft choices have made him a well respected authority in his field, as younger people and computer stats take over, Gus’s eyesight and reputation are beginning to fail him. Lobel has one last shot when the Braves’ General Manager (Robert Patrick) sends him to assess a young batter as a number one draft pick.
Lobel’s slightly estranged daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), is made aware of Gus’ issues, but as she is slated to make partner in her law firm any day, she is reluctant to step off the fast track— and onto her proud father’s toes. Mickey’s love for the game and for her father win out eventually and she forces her way onto the scouting trip, making a last-ditch effort to save her father’s career and their flailing relationship.
Along the way, the pair picks up Johnny Flanagan (Justin Timberlake)—a former draft pick of Lobel’s and now a fellow scout. Timberlake’s effortless charm serves him well as Mickey’s smooth-talking love interest, but a romantic chemistry never seems to develop between the characters. In contrast, the friendship between Timberlake and both Eastwood and Adams appears genuine, as if we are accidentally dropping in on their actual conversations. Eastwood’s delivery is unusually spot-on, each hard-ass comeback landing with well-timed accuracy. (Whether this is the result of the editing, the directing, or simply Eastwood, himself, it works—his lines deliver). Adams, as always, lends credibility and charisma to her role, but unfortunately, she does not have much more to work with. The characters in this film develop no further than the personalities and struggles initially presented.
Trouble with the Curve is not a sports movie, but a typical estranged parent-child story in which both seek to learn and overcome the reasons why their relationship doesn’t work. The film contains many amusing scenes and its attractive cinematography keeps the audience immersed in an enjoyable trip. However, the inconsistent tone of the film gives the impression of a romantic comedy that, every once in awhile, seeks to be something more.