Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Video review: "Trouble with the Curve"

Fair warning: I'm much higher on "Trouble with the Curve" than most film critics, and apparently hold a loftier opinion of it than audiences did.

This drama starring Clint Eastwood as an aging baseball scout losing his eyesight only garnered modest interest at the box office, and only scored 52 percent on Rotten Tomates' aggregation of critic opinions. But I found it one of the most emotionally satisfying journeys I experienced in 2012, even if the screenplay is a little shaky in the details.

It's perhaps Eastwood's most sensitive performance, in which he shows real vulnerability and weakness. Gus Lobel may be ornery, but he loves the game like gospel and has the ability to see things others can't -- at least he could, before macular degeneration set in.

His daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) agrees to follow him on a big scouting trip to act as his eyes, and they struggle to reconnect after years of estrangement. Meanwhile, a former pitching prospect named Johnny (Justin Timberlake) who blew his arm out and became a scout, tags along as a rival and a love interest.

The storytelling wavers a bit here and there. Director Robert Lorenz and screenwriter Randy Brown, both rookies, try to wedge in some elements that don't really fit -- a confusing allusion to a harrowing experience in Mickey's childhood being a prime example.

But if the windup isn't always textbook, the delivery is right down the plate. "Trouble with the Curve" was one of my favorite films of 2012.

Alas, video extras are rather skimpy. The DVD comes with a single making-of featurette, "For the Love of the Game." Upgrade to the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and all you add is another featurette titled "Rising Through the Ranks."

Movie:3.5 stars out of four
Extras: 1.5 stars

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