Klavan On The Culture

A Charming Programmer: Trouble With the Curve


I can tell you two things about Trouble With the Curve: it was utterly predictable and I couldn’t stop watching it. That’s a tribute to the cast mostly, but also to a script that may not be full of surprises, but is at least full of gentle charm and good will.

Clint Eastwood gives an excellent performance as an aging baseball scout beginning to lose his eyesight. Amy Adams is so sweet, vulnerable and charming I could barely believe it was the same actress who played the icy wife in The Master. In this she’s Eastwood’s daughter, a hard-charging lawyer who has no place in her life for love because her dad neglected her. Justin Timberlake — who seems like he should have no talent but actually does — is the ruined pitcher trying to establish a career as a scout. There’s a nasty white boy who’s a hot batting prospect, and a polite, respectful brown fellow who can throw a ball 90 miles an hour but no one’s noticed. You can probably write the rest of the movie yourself.

When it came out, the film took some flak from reviewers because it was just after Eastwood’s appearance at the Republican National Convention. Clint had committed a violation of the Hollywood code that all movie people should remain non-political unless they are left wingers, in which case they can stick their heads up Hugo Chavez’s left nostril and suffer nary a word of rebuke. Once again, our critics displayed their tolerant and diverse attitudes toward everyone who agrees with them about everything and their small-minded nastiness toward anyone who doesn’t tow the party line. Some of them even attacked Eastwood’s performance, which is unforgivably dishonest. He’s terrific.

Which is not to say the film’s any kind of an unsung classic. It’s just nice, that’s all. Characters look for love, they reconcile, they struggle, they forgive, they kiss and hug. It’s a movie! If you’re not in a demanding mood, you’ll enjoy it.