Does that mean the film is a failure? No. Although Gus is one-dimensional, fans of Eastwood should leave sated. The actor hasn’t starred in a film since 2008’s Gran Torino, but his screen presence remains as sturdy as ever. He’s using his advancing years to portray characters in the twilight of their lives, grappling with the diminution of skills and talents that become apparent with old age. Gus is well suited to Eastwood’s screen persona, which requires the timely delivery of few words (although Gus's character tic of grunting pales in comparison’s to Tom Hardy’s similar character tic in the recent Lawless).

Better is Adams, who brings spunk and spitfire to the role of Mickey, wounded in childhood by events she still hasn’t fully processed and could never understand. Her rapprochement with her father is warm and effective, but getting to that point requires patience.

Trouble With the Curve is a game whose outcome seems like a foregone conclusion from the beginning. The players will deliver as expected, maybe even spark to life for a few plays, but the final score won’t be much of a surprise. Although nothing in the film is risible enough to generate walkouts, it offers little to keep us glued to our seats. When, late in the film, a character says, "Don’t be afraid to walk away," viewers might wonder if the advice is directed toward them.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity: Lord’s name taken in vain numerous times; several uses of foul language; “hell”; the “F”-word; reference to male sex organ
  • Alcohol/Smoking/Drugs: A spectator drinks and yells at players on the field; several scenes at a bar include drinking and smoking; some additional scenes of smoking; Gus drinks beer with his pizza and pours beer in a glass at his wife’s grave
  • Sex/Nudity: A man urinates; a young player tells his teammates he plans to have sex with many women after he’s recruited; crude “your momma” jokes; Gus knocks on Mickey’s door and asks if she has a man in her room; Johnny strips to his underwear before going for a swim, and Mickey removes her pants but leaves her underwear and top on
  • Violence/Crime: Gus attacks a man who’s coming on to his daughter; a car accident; a man is beaten and strangled
  • Marriage/Religion: Gus is a widower; Mickey says she takes yoga, which her father describes as “voodoo”; she jokes that she’s going to get “666” tattooed on her forehead

Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at crosswalkchristian@hotmail.com.

Publication date: September 21, 2012