An old man is trying to pee but his stream is a slow trickle. Even as he grapples with his weakness he yells at his member “you old bastard I’ve outlived you.” So begins Trouble With the Curve, on its outside shell a story of redemption and baseball but on the inside a moving journey of a daughter to overcome emotional issues with her father.

TWTC has no allusions at greatness, it’s not swinging for the fence, but it does aim for a profound sense of family unity and achieves that by the conclusion. Clint Eastwood, as a baseball scout, plays ornery to perfection yet you wonder how another actor with different skills, like Tommy Lee Jones, would’ve swung at the ball. Amy Adams plays Eastwood’s daughter, a high-powered lawyer who leaves an important case at the request of Eastwood’s boss (John Goodman) to be his eyes on a crucial scouting trip. Eastwood’s vision is going south yet he refuses to acknowledge his illness and pushes on with his stubborn routine of living.

The title refers to a high school prospect that Eastwood and other scouts (including a laid back Justin Timberlake) are betting on. Even with his failing sight Eastwood can tell from the sound of the ball off the player’s bat that the cocky recruit cannot hit the proverbial curve. Even after the baseball part of the story wraps there’s still Adams coming to grips with what she feels was abandonment. Eastwood appears as himself in a ‘70s era flashback (looks like a clip from Dirty Harry) that explains the root cause of the father daughter dysfunction.

— Michael Bergeron