Trouble with the Curve, starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, and Justin Timberlake isn't quite a home run, but it's a line drive against the shift, deep into the corner for an easy triple.
Eastwood plays an aging baseball scout with a long record of success. Amy Adams plays his daughter, Mickey (as in Mantle). Justin Timberlake plays a pitcher, prematurely broken by overuse, with a history with Eastwood's character and the hope of a future with his daughter. If a grand theme must be stated, it is finding our paths in life, and the obstacles that spring up to force detours. The story ends on a note of doors opened and closed, not on any kind of finality. Along the way we are shown a rabbit and a hat, and are still surprised when the rabbit is pulled from the hat to save the day. Karma is satisfied, the unjustly high are brought low, and the deserving rewarded.
Without Eastwood as Gus Lobel there would be no movie. It is easy to ruin a great line in a small scene but Eastwood carries them all, communicating volumes in moments. But for me Amy Adams is the real star of this show. Her character propels the story. Mickey struggles while her father suffers, and rails, and seeks only to make the best of it. For Gus we suffer in silence, but for his dauther we cheer and hope and, in spite of cliches, we puzzle and doubt. Baseball purists might revolt when she she runs out a "home run" and turns cartwheels between second and third—even Ozzie Smith never did that—but the rest of us can grin and celebrate.
Justin Timberlake? His role calls for a competent actor to play against Amy Adams's Mickey, and that's what he delivers. He is believable as a damaged pitcher still eager to make a life in baseball. His fans won't mind that this performance will neither make nor break his career any more than it makes or breaks the movie.
Is this a baseball movie? It's set in baseball, and the circumstances are the circumstances of baseball, and the rabbit from the hat throws a wicked curveball. But it's not really a baseball movie, unless you count Yogi Berra's imperative about the fork in the road. If you're a casual fan, you'll enoy it for the baseball; if you're a purist, you may wish that it was about hockey or football instead.
Go see this one. It's a winner. You won't waste your time or your money. It won't damage your hearing or make you wish you hadn't eaten before going to see it. And you'll come away feeling good.