Trouble with the Curve 人生決勝球 (2012) – USA

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 28th November 2012
Releasing in cinemas across Australia from 6th December 2012

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“Trouble with the Curve” is like the recent string of Clint Eastwood’s films that focuses on genuine human relationships and personal ambitions and purpose in life, but without the usual heaviness. The film is a direct juxtaposition to last year’s acclaimed “Moneyball” and while it never reaches the heights of the former, “Trouble with the Curve” wins through the audience despite being cliché and predictable at times.

Films like these feel extremely old school with a simple and predictable plotline. It goes the route often taken in telling a story about how you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, the conflicted single father and daughter relationship and a as per the book romantic getaway country subplot. However despite all these, the film is elevated with wonderful performances from Eastwood as the old dog while his daughter (played by Amy Adams) shows much promise as the aspiring partner at a law firm rediscovering her own meaning and passion in baseball. Directed by Robert Lorenz, Eastwood’s long-time partner in crime in producing gritty and serious films like “Mystic River”, “Flags of our Brothers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima”, Lorenz in this film show a lighter style than his mentor.

Clint Eastwood has made a niche out of himself in his later acting career. In fact he plays the same character in most of his output in the past decade. Still he is impressive as always and the fact that he is acting his own age adds to the realism factor. His subtle undertone relationship with his daughter is at times startling to watch. The star of the show is undoubtedly talented actress Amy Adams (“The Master”) who simply shines as daughter/lawyer/baseball lover. There is maturity in Adams performance as she tries to dig deeper into slowly making his father talks. Perhaps the best scene remains the moment she realise that the lifelong goal of partnership is not exactly what she really wants in life. Justin Timberlake continues his fine “Social Network” form, by providing a good comic timing presence to his role and including some good exchange of dialogue with Adams, despite a rather forced and expected romantic subplot. While John Goodman (“Argo”) shines through as the persistent director of scouting, where his underlying support for Eastwood’s character is almost like gold.

All in all, “Trouble with the Curve” is far less heavy than many of Eastwood’s recent outputs and is also a tad cliché and predictable. Despite this, the film is always engaging and even contains a few emotional tear inducing situations. It is a highly effective film that works by being simple and humane. Probably a bit light in terms of Eastwood usual standards, but it remains a good light hearted film about life. (Neo 2012)

I rated it 7.2/10

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