Trouble with the Curve
This pleasant little rom-com with a baseball setting remains buoyant despite the gruff paternal ballast of Clint Eastwood as co-producer/star. Directed by Robert Lorenz and written by Randy Brown, its baldly predictable script gets a smooth, genial ride from a lively cast, including especially stars Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake. As an aged baseball scout in physical decline, Eastwood recycles the rough humor of his Gran Torino character and grumbles amiably through semi-domestic dust ups with his daughter Mickey (Adams), a former protégé (Timberlake), and semi-professional ones with a friendly baseball exec (John Goodman at his most avuncular) and a hostile younger scout (smarmy Matthew Lillard). Brown’s script is a kind of minor-league rejoinder to Moneyball, this time with the computerized young Turks as the villains and the irascible old-timers as the guiding lights. The vindication of old Gus (Eastwood) comes by way of some rather improbable baseball action, but ultimately that takes its place alongside its companion plot threads—a father-daughter reconciliation, the screwball romance of Mickey with the protégé, and Mickey’s transformation from ambitious lawyer to heir to her father’s baseball smarts. It’s an old formula, but winningly pitched in this modest entertainment. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13.