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Trouble with the Curve: Solid hit but no home run for Eastwood

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SALT LAKE CITY -- He didn't knock it out of the park, but it's a solid hit for Clint Eastwood. The octogenarian puts his age to work in the new movie "Trouble with the Curve," portraying a legendary baseball scout facing issues associated with aging.

Gus lives for baseball. Over his long career, the game has seeped into his bones. He can judge a pitch or a swing by the sound of the ball hitting the glove or connecting with the bat. Problem is, Gus' vision is failing and the younger members of the scouting team -- including the easy-to-hate Mathew Lillyard as Phil -- believe he's a dinosaur. Constantly clashing over statistics and computer models vs. eyeballing the players, following them on the road using your "gut," Gus finds himself on the professional bubble.

John Goodman stars as Gus' boss, Pete who has confidence in his top scout but knows something is amiss. A call is made to Mickey, Gus' semi-estranged daughter, to see if she can help dear-old-dad on a scouting trip through the Carolinas.

Amy Adams, stepping away from her frilly, princess roles, delivers a smart, tough corporate lawyer who is obsessed with gaining a partnership. The request from Pete comes at a most inopportune moment. But, even though the relationship has been strained, the dutiful daughter joins her father on the road to be his backup. Seems over the tumultuous years she's picked up not only her dad's knowledge of the game, but the love of the game might just run in the blood.

Doug's Comments
  • Eastwood didn't knock it out of the park, but it's a solid hit
  • Things get a little too predictable and a little too tidy
  • Clint delivers vintage "Eastwood"
  • Adams and Timberlake have some charming moments
  • A triple-play, three-star movie

Along the way, Gus reconnects with a player he scouted and mentored whose career ended with a shoulder injury. Justin Timberlake is charming as Johnny, who is now scouting for the Red Sox and hoping for a chance at the team's broadcast booth. Is there a chance Mickey and Johnny could hit it off? Duh!

OK, this is where things get a little too predictable and a little too tidy. I like a happy ending as much as the next guy, but sometime you can undermine the story with everything clicking into place with almost fairytale precision. There is not a single loose end that isn't tied into a big bow.

Clint, who not only stars but has credit as producer, delivers vintage "Eastwood," gravelly, craggy, cantankerous and yes, he growls. Of course I loved it. Adams and Timberlake come through with some charming moments and even a little spark.


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Doug Wright


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