Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Trouble with the Curve:" Out of retirement with Clint

Title: Trouble with the Curve
Released: 2012
Genre: Family reconnection pseudo-drama
Notable for: Clint's return to acting
Coolest thing Clint does: Shows love to his daughter by smashing a beer bottle and threatening to cut a guy's face off

Imagine our shock to be forced out of "The Clint Eastwood Project" retirement home due to Clint's apparently never-ending acting career.

Four years after "Gran Torino," we never expected to see Clint on screen again, unless you count Republican conventions and Chrysler commercials. We did not want to see him try to rekindle Clinthood at age 82.

Roughly two seconds into "Trouble with the Curve," Clint acknowledges we all know he is old as shit. Struggling at a toilet to force pathetic little squirts of urine past his presumably gigantic prostate gland, he coaxes and cajoles his plumbing.

"Don't laugh. I outlived you you little bastard," he says, evidently addressing that part of his anatomy Sondra Locke might have called "Little Clint."

We were prepared to hate this movie, even though it involves sports, because we heard it is about "emotional reconnection." Our definition of movies about emotional reconnection is: The ones where nothing happens.

Indeed, the main plot is explained in one sentence: Clint is an aging baseball scout unable to show emotion to his grown-up attorney daughter, but they travel together on a scouting trip and eventually meet each other halfway. Side plots involving romance, professional rivalries and baseball are so predictable every development can be seen from miles away.

Yet, somehow we found it worth watching, for three main reasons.

1. Amy Adams, who plays Clint's daughter, and Justin Timberlake, a washed-up Major Leaguer who wins her heart, are very good and very likable in their roles.

2. The villians of the story are so pompous and obnoxious it was fun to see them get come-uppance at the end. To bad they could not be shot and left floating in a lake, but it was not that sort of come-uppance.

3. Clint's grouchy character allowed him to strut some of his trademark stuff, including grunts, grimmaces and that little twitch of his lip when something pisses him off. He's not entirely retired as a hard-ass, either. In one scene, he breaks a beer bottle and threatens through clenched teeth to mess up a guy who hits on his daughter in a bar.

Not only is this Clint's first acting role in four years, it's also his first appearance since 1993's "In the Line of Fire" in a film he did not direct.

 "Trouble With the Curve" is not one of Clint's best films, but he did not embarrass himself with this comeback. At least not after he stopped talking to his dick.

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