Eastwood plays Gus Lovell, an aging baseball scout with the Atlanta Braves who is sent on one last scouting trip before his contract expires. Due to his deteriorating eyesight, Gus’s attorney daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams) goes along on the scouting trip with her father to help him out. What Gus and Mickey don’t know is that the Atlanta Braves sent another scout to make sure that Gus doesn’t mess up the scouting report on their top draft pick.
What I really enjoyed about this movie is that Eastwood is a baseball purist. Even with today’s technology, Gus would still rather sift through newspaper after newspaper to get different reports on the players. As Gus’s boss Pete points out, “With a computer, you could pull up the stats of any player in the country.”
But Gus and Mickey follow a high school baseball team across North Carolina to scout the “next big thing” Bo Gentry, who is so full of himself that even at the high school level, he charges fans $45 for an autograph. Along the way, they run into Johnny Flanagan (Justin Timberlake), a former player that Gus scouted, who was traded to the Red Sox where his arm blew out.
Yes, Mickey and Johnny get together (but not before Johnny accuses Gus and Mickey of stealing Bo Gentry from him). And yes, it’s cute that for a first date, they sat in a bar and exchanged baseball trivia. It’s a heartwarming subplot that makes you feel good about the rest of the movie as well.
All the characters, especially Gus and Mickey, grow throughout the movie. Father and daugther went from hardly talking to getting each other out of trouble, Mickey with her attorney’s job that she really doesn’t want and Gus’s contract not being renewed after he told the Braves front office what they didn’t want to hear.
In the end baseball purity prevailed, and the sights and sounds of the game beat the computer. It goes to show that on paper, a player may be the best in the state, but a slip of the hand may cost you that top draft spot that is so desired.
If I had one complaint about Trouble With the Curve, it was that the men in the movie insinuated that Adams’ character couldn’t possibly know baseball because she was a girl. When Adams did assert her knowledge, either as an attorney or as a baseball fan, the men in the room (except Timberlake’s Johnny) scoffed at her. As a daugther who was taught everything she knew by her father, I didn’t like this Mickey storyline very much but probably only because I go through the same thing.
Overall, I recommend Trouble With the Curve to any baseball-movie enthusiast out there. In fact, this movie made me kind of sad that baseball season will soon be over. And I think any Mets fan will be satisfied with a storyline that the Red Sox and Braves are both so bad that they have the top two overall draft picks. In fact, I may have enjoyed that aspect a little too much.