Thanks to the recent speech at the Republican National Convention in which the former Dirty Harry berated a chair holding an invisible Barack Obama going into a movie starring Clint Eastwood as a technophobe who has trouble not walking into tables and chairs on a daily basis isn’t exactly a setup for success. But believe it or not it’s actually not that unfortunate context that’s the problem: from the clunky script and pacing to Clint’s ever-present grumble and the film’s predictable plot Trouble with the Curve is a slow pitch right down the middle.
And this is coming from someone who loves baseball movies so much she’s suffered through Kevin Costner’s For the Love of the Game – twice. But Trouble isn’t really a baseball movie. It’s a sappy father-daughter relationship tale with baseball as the hook and the caulk filling in the film's cracks.
Gus (Eastwood) is one of the oldest most respected scouts in the game but he’s getting old his eyes are going and some twerp with a laptop (Matthew Lillard) and his frat boy henchman are determined to shove Gus out of his position at the Atlanta Braves and replace him with a computer (muah-ha-ha). His daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) who he named after Mickey Mantle because that’s how much he loves baseball is trying to make partner at her law firm in a pool of misogynistic bigwigs when she’s called down to North Carolina to help her dad at the behest of his boss and best friend (John Goodman). While she should be working things out with her pops a young scout named Jimmy (Justin Timberlake) shows up flirts with Mickey and steals the storyline for the entire middle section of the film.
While Eastwood’s growling grumbling demeanor are perfect for the role of a stalwart old man who refuses to give up the game he once knew he’s saddled with stale jokes and quips – you may know them as “dad jokes” – that undermine his ability to be the wise man who knows better than these young whippersnappers. Adams does the best she can with a role that asks little more than for her to be smart sassy and outspoken but it simply feels like the role was over-cast. Timberlake’s character is plagued with Gus’ same brand of dad jokes but luckily for us the former boy bander is oozing with enough charm to make any joke no matter how terrible funny enough to make us fall in love with him – for an hour and half anyway.
Script issues aside where the film really starts to lose its way is in its portrayal of Lillard’s young ladder-climbing villain. At one point they even show him sitting in a dark room backlit by a lone desk lamp as he instructs his henchman to keep spying on Gus. All that’s missing is a maniacal laugh and a fluffy cat on his lap for him to stroke with his ruby-ring-decked hand.
It’s this hyperbolic villainy coupled with the treatment of Gus’ mortal enemy (technology) paired with two battling relationship stories (Timberlake and Adams vs. Eastwood and Adams) and the slow plodding pace that keep this film from being what it should be: a perfectly sweet predictable popcorn flick.
Trouble would be a perfectly adequate movie to casually watch on a Sunday afternoon with your dad but then again you could just get Field of Dreams on Blu-ray just as easily.
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros]
It's that time again, the MTV Movie Awards nominations are out and once again, we can marvel at the ridiculous categories that the network formerly known as Music Television dreamed up. This awards show is like the spring break of film awards. After all the sincerity and somber ceremonies during the awards season, this is the one where Howard Stern might show up in ass-less chaps or two actresses might kiss onstage when they get an award; it's also the one that isn't afraid to hire a legitimate comedian to host the dang thing so we might laugh instead of looking at James Franco and Anne Hathaway like they must have lost their minds. The comedian this year is SNL's Jason Sudeikis -- or Floyd (sigh) if you're a die-hard 30 Rock fan.
Most importantly, it's the ceremony where viewers can actually participate in what movie gets which moonman because everything is determined by online voting -- granted, it's not like we're looking at the best of cinema across all categories for this thing. This of course means that The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will probably win everything because fan girls are stationed noon and night voting to make sure the Edward and Bella kiss beats the Jacob and Bella kiss for the "Best Kiss" award. Well, let's get these nominations lined up so you can start figuring how who to vote for.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
The Social Network
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Best Female Performance
Emma Stone, Easy A
Emma Watson, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Jennifer Aniston, Just Go With It
Kristen Stewart, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Male Performance
Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Robert Pattinson, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Zac Efron, Charlie St. Cloud
Best Breakout Star
Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
Chloë Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jay Chou, The Green Hornet
Olivia Wilde, TRON: Legacy
Xavier Samuel, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Best Comedic Performance
Adam Sandler, Just Go With It
Ashton Kutcher, No Strings Attached
Emma Stone, Easy A
Russell Brand, Get Him to the Greek
Zach Galifianakis, Due Date
Best Line From A Movie
Alexys Nycole Sanchez, Grown Ups:
"I want to get chocolate wasted."
Amanda Bynes and Emma Stone, Easy A:
Amanda Bynes: "There is a higher power that will judge you for your indecency." Emma Stone: "Tom Cruise?"
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network:
"If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you'd have invented Facebook."
Justin Timberlake and Andrew Garfield, The Social Network:
Justin Timberlake: "... A million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool?" Andrew Garfield: "A billion dollars. And that shut everybody up."
Tom Hardy, Inception:
"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger darling."
Christoph Waltz, The Green Hornet
Leighton Meester, The Roommate
Mickey Rourke, Iron Man 2
Ned Beatty, Toy Story 3
Tom Felton, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Amy Adams vs. The Sisters, The Fighter
Chloë Grace Moretz vs. Mark Strong, Kick-Ass
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint vs. Death Eaters, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Joseph Gordon-Levitt vs. Hallway Attacker, Inception
Robert Pattinson vs. Bryce Dallas Howard and Xavier Samuel, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Inception
Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, Black Swan
Best Jaw-Dropping Moment
James Franco, 127 Hours, Cuts Off His Arm
Justin Bieber, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, Performance Spectacular
Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page, Inception, Paris Café Scene
Natalie Portman, Black Swan, Mutilation: Pulls the Skin off Her Finger
Steve-O, Jackass 3D, Port-A-Potty Bungee Stunt
Best Scared-As-Sh-- Performance
Ashley Bell, The Last Exorcism
Ellen Page, Inception
Jessica Szohr, Piranha 3D
Minka Kelly, The Roommate
Ryan Reynolds, Buried
Biggest Badass Star
Alex Pettyfer, I Am Number Four
Chloë Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass
Jaden Smith, The Karate Kid
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Inception
Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man 2
The MTV Movie Awards air Sunday, June 5. Voting ends June, 4, except for best movie which ends right before the award is given out on June 5.