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FILM FANS: 'Trouble With the Curve' not quite a grand slam

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "Trouble With the Curve." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

3 out of 4 stars

They don't often make movies like "Trouble With the Curve" these days. Sometimes that's not such a bad thing. It's a fairly simple, straightforward film and in this case, it's a pretty good thing.

Clint Eastwood plays Gus, an aging baseball scout on the verge of going blind -- just so happens he's also at the end of his contract. Amy Adams plays Mickey, the daughter he left behind years ago. She steps in to help the old guy out on a road trip to scout the No. 1 hitter in the country. The setup may be a little contrived, but it works well at giving us insight into a troubled father/daughter relationship. That struggle is at the heart of this film. While predictable, the movie benefits from great performances all around. Justin Timberlake, playing a former pitcher turned scout, provides some welcome humor and John Goodman brings a lot of heart as Gus's best friend.

Athens and Dawsonville double for the North Carolina countryside, and some of the scenes are beautiful to witness. Overall, it's a solid film with solid performances. It may not quite be a grand slam, but it definitely hits it out of the park.

-- Ron Adams, Statham

3 out of 4 stars

I was looking forward to seeing this movie (filmed in the Atlanta area, I believe) and was not disappointed. Amy Adams was great as a daughter (now successful lawyer) who grew up with a complicated relationship with her father. Her dad, Gus, played very believably by Clint Eastwood, is a crotchety old man who is a baseball scout and now dealing with failing eyesight issues.

When it comes time to draft a first pick for the Braves, Mickey (Adams) goes to help her dad since he can't see as well anymore. Also, enter Justin Timberlake, likeable while playing Flanagan, a once very talented pitcher. I enjoyed the plot and relationship developments and baseball scenes. I also liked the ending and thought the film did a good job handling many of the emotional issues at hand.

-- Cindy Evans, Duluth

2 and 1/2 out of 4 stars

I have always been a Clint Eastwood fan, all the way back to TV's "Rawhide" and "Play Misty for Me," so it actually surprises me that this is such a mediocre film.

Eastwood, as Gus Lobel, is the central character who is a grouchy (again), stubborn (again), aging baseball scout for the Atlanta Braves who has a history of enlisting some major players for his team, but may have stayed at the party a bit too long. With his health failing and with modern technology having left him behind, he is faced with one last opportunity to prove that he still has what it takes before he is put out to pasture.

Enter his longtime pal John Goodman, who enlists Gus' daughter, played by Amy Adams, to help him with his task. As his neglected daughter and a huge baseball fan and critic herself, she puts a very successful law career on hold to join her dad on his trip. Adams is an extremely talented actor, who does an excellent job of playing out this story of an opportunity to reconnect with a father whom she has always wanted to have a relationship with, but she's just as stubborn as he is about sharing her feelings.

No spoiler here, but the payoff at the end really saves an otherwise shallow, predictable story that will leave the "older" generation cheering for the triumph of instinct and intuition over modern day technology. Probably tame enough for the kids, especially if they're a baseball fan.

-- Steve Kalberg, Lawrenceville