Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Trouble With The Curve Commentary

I'm a baseball fan.  So I will admit that I spent some time picking apart some of the inaccuracies in this movie regarding the sport.  First, in what universe would the Red Sox or Braves have a top two pick given that it's a movie that takes place in current time?  Also, there is no way that, in a championship game, there would be a spazzy, "please just let me get hit" Charlie Brown type kid batting in front of "the next Albert Pujols."  But, the Red Sox and Braves have appeal for the masses and the wimpy kid allowed for a decent little scene.  After all, this isn't a movie about baseball.  Rather, it is a movie about redemption and second chances with a baseball background.  So I can forgive the numerous baseball inaccuracies.

Overall, this is a good film.  It started out a little boring and slow.  But, by the time I got halfway through, I found myself really enjoying it.  It has a very decent mix of heartwarming, heartbreaking and humour that keeps the audience interested.  Performances are strong from all of the main actors.  Amy Adams plays the "had to be strong to get by yet oddly vulnerable" daughter very well.  Justin Timberlake gives a fantastic performance as a former pitcher who has already adjusted to his second chance and, in turn, teaches Adams and Eastwood how to do the same.  The weakest of the three (and it wasn't that weak) was Clint Eastwood.  His performance was basically the same thing he did in Gran Torino: the stubborn old crank that refuses to change but can't help but soften a bit.  But, let's face it.  Isn't that all he ever really played?  Go back and watch the Dirty Harry movies.  That's just Eastwood.  He's never been a great actor.  But he's got that quality that just makes us want to watch him.  He used to be a bad ass but now he reminds us all of our own cranky grandfathers.

Most of the secondary actors are decent too.  John Goodman, Robert Patrick, the guys who played the other aging scouts, etc. are all good.  The only one I would say they needed to change was Joe Massingill.  While he looked the part of a high school baseball prospect, his acting was just too poor to make his character entertaining.  You're supposed to hate him.  But I hated him, not because of his attitude but because of his inability to deliver a line convincingly.  His character was too important to allow for that performance.

The writing, overall, is a bit weak.  The movie is very predictable and really has no surprises.  It follows basic movie formulas of things that need to happen in order for the heroes to win and the villains to lose.  But it isn't a thriller that would rely on surprise twists to keep you interested.  Instead, Trouble with the Curve is a drama that wants you to be vested emotionally.  Because the performances are decent, it can rise above slightly above mediocre writing and deliver a quality movie.

While it isn't a masterpiece, it's still worth two hours.  See it.

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