Trouble with the Curve, rated PG-13

Starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman

Austin Family critical rating: 4 of 5 stars
Austin Family Family-Friendly rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clint Eastwood is more than just an iconic Hollywood star – he is one of the finest of all American filmmakers (just look at his work from the last decade alone, which includes Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Letters From Iwo Jima, Changeling, Invictus, Hereafter and J. Edgar). Although Eastwood did not direct Trouble with the Curve (his first screen appearance since Gran Torino), it’s been crafted by many of his loyal collaborators, including Robert Lorenz, his assistant director, who makes his directing debut with this film.

Trouble with the Curve is a heartfelt drama with strong performances from Eastwood as a baseball talent scout slowly losing his vision, and Amy Adams, as his daughter, who accompanies him to help scout a new major league recruit. The central father-daughter dynamics of Million Dollar Baby are on display here, although this film is far more light-hearted. With wonderful supporting performances from John Goodman and Justin Timberlake, it’s difficult not to feel great warmth watching the picture.

I recommend Trouble with the Curve not only because it stars one of the most fascinating actors in cinema giving a great performance, but because it represents a type of film that’s all too rare these days – a good, old-fashioned drama from a major Hollywood studio. It’s not nearly as reflective and thematically complex as Eastwood’s films as a director, but it’s an enjoyable picture made for adults (although nothing here is objectionable for children under twelve). Like Eastwood himself, Trouble with the Curve is free of cynicism and snark, and if you’re not grinning by the film’s final shot, well, I don’t know what to tell you.

Jack Kyser is a graduate of Austin High School and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

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