After his haranguing of an empty chair at the Republican National Convention, you might think Clint Eastwood would give furniture a wide berth.
But he’s at it again in Trouble With The Curve, taking such umbrage with a coffee table it winds up in pieces.
Don’t worry, folks: Dirty Harry’s not losing his marbles. But he is losing his eyesight, an irksome infirmity for a man who makes his living scouting baseball players.
With an ambitious upstart after his job, Eastwood’s ornery old Gus could use some help.
Enter his estranged daughter Mickey (Amy Adams), a busy lawyer who grudgingly agrees to join him on a trip to North Carolina to check out a red-hot young prospect.
Over the hill but not out for the count, Clint’s latest incarnation is a familiar one for a star who has been playing pretty much the same role since Unforgiven.
For once though he doesn’t direct himself, handing the reins to longtime producing partner Robert Lorenz. The latter has inherited his mentor’s no-nonsense technique and unhurried pacing, resulting in a gentle story of familial reconciliation that, bar an icky kiddie-fiddling reveal, does little to scare the horses.
With a cantankerous pa on one side and sexist employers on the other, Adams’ role might seem the definition of thankless. But typically, the Fighter star gives it sass, smarts and sensitivity, going toe to toe with Eastwood with the same fieriness Hilary Swank displayed in Million Dollar Baby.
Justin Timberlake, in contrast, strikes out as an ex-pitcher who woos Adams between innings. But what else could he expect from a film led by Hollywood’s most alpha of males?
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Saluting both America’s national pastime and its oldest working icon, Curve is a solid heart-tugger that plays with a straight bat when it comes to plot, character and message.