Some actors get better with age and no one deserves that accolade more than Clint Eastwood. Already a Hollywood icon who could easily rest on his laurels, Eastwood has chosen to stay active directing movies and occasionally acting in them too. His starring role in Trouble With the Curve is the first time he has acted in a film which he did not also direct since 1993's In the Line of Fire. This time out his friend Robert Lorenz handled the directing chores.
In his new film Eastwood plays Gus Lobel, a scout for the Atlanta Braves. Gus is getting up in years and his eyesight is failing, a fact his semi-estranged daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) learns after talking with his doctor. Urged by Gus's boss Jerry (John Goodman) to check on him, Mickey takes a few days off from her job as a high powered attorney and goes to where her father is scouting players.
While sitting in the stands with her father watching a game Mickey is introduced to a former ballplayer named Johnny (Justin Timberlake). Johnny was a pitcher who threw his arm out and is now working as a scout too. He hopes in the future to become a sports announcer. He is in awe of Gus and can't quite determine why Mickey is hostile towards her father.
The relationship between Gus and Mickey is at the heart of the movie and the two actors have great chemistry as they spar together. Eastwood is gruff and grizzled these days but he still has the basic charisma to demand the attention of an audience. Adams is so talented that she makes every word out of her mouth sound natural, even when she is quoting baseball statistics.
Eastwood and Adams are so good and so natural that they actually make Timberlake loosen up and be acceptable as the third part of their group. Not a natural actor in any way, Timberlake grows in stature as the limelight surrounding Eastwood and Adams also washes over him. He is still the weak link but not as weak a link as he is expected to be.
Matthew Lillard has some good moments as Phillip Sanderson, a member of the Braves management team who wants Gus cut loose. He thinks his time has come and gone and that computers can now do the job that he did in the past. With his puffy face and whiny manner Lillard is pitch perfect in this role. He is the one audiences love to hate.
The movie is rated PG-13 for profanity and mild violence.
To many Eastwood is a national treasure. Trouble With the Curve cements that status. Combined with Amy Adams this whispery voiced actor knocks this one out of the park.
I scored Trouble With the Curve a play ball 7 out of 10.