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Trouble with the Curve: movie review

Clint Eastwood returns for a showdown on the diamond.

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John Goodman, Amy Adams, and Clint Eastwood (l. to r.) team up in ‘Trouble with the Curve,’ about an aging baseball scout and his daughter.

Warner Brothers Entertainment

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Clint Eastwood’s recent bizarre appearance at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., may have stolen some of the thunder from his new film “Trouble with the Curve,” where he plays Gus Lobel, a grousing Atlanta Braves baseball scout whose eyesight is failing. Still, Eastwood is Eastwood, whether he’s on a convention podium or before the cameras. What you see is pretty much what you get.

And what you get in “Trouble with the Curve” is standard-issue late-career Eastwoodiana. The growl, the snarl, the crotchetiness are already familiar to us from “Million Dollar Baby” (2004) and “Gran Torino” (2009), his last appearance as an actor.

Gus is first shown reaching into his refrigerator for a can of Spam. This is, by the way, the only kind of spam with which he is familiar. He can barely work a typewriter and has no use for computers, unlike the Braves front office team, which rates young baseball prospects by their computerized stats and rarely ventures into the field for a firsthand look. Gus, by contrast, is deeply old school.

As the film too diligently points out, he’s not just old school, he’s old everything. Actually Eastwood, in his 80s, looks a lot trimmer than some of the performers in this film half his age. He may be the only octogenarian actor who has to play older than his age to be convincing.

“Trouble with the Curve” was not directed by Eastwood, who has helmed his share of fine films, but by his longtime producing partner Robert Lorenz, making his feature-film debut. This perhaps explains why the movie creaks along its timeworn path without any discernible narrative elegance. (The script is by Randy Brown.) But a big plus here is Amy Adams, who livens things up as Gus’s estranged daughter, Mickey (named after Mickey Mantle).

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