Monday, October 15, 2012

Trouble with the Curve

Trouble with the Curve is a boring movie.  Its plot is predictable, its characters are unrealistic and annoying, and its writing is frustrating.  It's certainly not horrible; it just isn't good, either.

Featuring Clint Eastwood as Clint Eastwood,--er, Gus--an aging baseball scout losing his vision and Amy Adams as his tightly-wound lawyer daughter, Curve seems like a direct response to last year's Moneyball.  2011's Oscar nominated baseball draft movie documented Billy Beane's use of sabermetrics and statistical, computer-driven approach to drafting players.  In Curve, the "likeable" characters write off this style while its villains thrive with it.  The audience, then, is supposed to come away with the idea that good, old-fashioned scouting is superior, but it just comes off as "Old guys don't like new stuff."  Which, I suppose, could be Clint Eastwood's whole mantra, given his most recent films.

Curve's characters are broadly drawn, though the under-utilized cast does what it can with the writing.  Few characters, besides Gus and daughter Mickey, are given much by way of "shades of grey."  The villains have no redeeming qualities; the supporting heroes are perfect and polite and understanding of everything.

The estranged relationship between father and daughter is the real heart of the film, however, and the writing does at least give its protagonists flaws and room to grow.  The problem is, neither character starts the film as particularly likeable, and while each gets better by the end of the film, I couldn't quite bring myself to be cheering for either one. 

This sounds like an entirely negative review, which isn't strictly fair.  The predictability may be right up some viewers' alleys, and there is certainly an audience for Eastwood's gruff old man schtick; I'm just not really a part of it.  There are better baseball films out there.  There are better father-daughter stories out there.  But it all honesty, there are worse films of each, too.

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