"How the hell do you know I'm lucky to survive?"
Legendary screen icon Clint Eastwood returns in front of the camera since his hit "Gran Torino". No matter what anyone else thinks of him, I will always admire the man. He is one of my heroes. Who else can personify the action hero perfectly, become a gifted filmmaker, improve his acting ability as he ages AND be quite the jazz musician?
Mr. Eastwood may be old but he still has a commanding presence on screen. Granted, he might be the only leading octogenarian in Hollywood right now, but still, I digress. He is old. That is a fact. At the age of 82, seeing him play an elderly man losing his sight while bonding with his distant daughter makes it quite sad for me to watch. However, "Trouble With the Curve" is a breeze to watch.
It is not a baseball movie, although baseball is the basis of the film's story. Nor is it a depressing drama (Mr. Eastwood's favorite genre of late). It is a father-daughter bonding dramedy, with some great chemistry between Mr. Eastwood and Amy Adams as his estranged daughter. Justin Timberlake also arrives to lighten up the atmosphere even more, and his presence is welcome in the film.
Mr. Eastwood is not in the director's chair this time. His long-time producer partner, Robert Lorenz, makes his directorial debut with this film. Apparently Lorenz directs the cast with ease although it feels too by-the-numbers. But hey, there are much worse debuts. Judging from the breezy pace and the somewhat brisk editing and lively cinematography, it's clear from the get-go that the superb "Eastwood touch" is not evident in the film, even though some of Mr. Eastwood's key players are still here - cinematographer Tom Stern and editor Joel Cox - though the music by Marco Beltrami (not Mr. Eastwood nor his son this time!) complements the atmosphere pleasantly.
Look, this is not a great film. It's a pedestrian and predictable film, with Mr. Eastwood, Adams, Timberlake, as well as an impressive supporting cast featuring John Goodman and Robert Patrick, phoning in the performances. Both Adams and Mr. Eastwood have acted much more superbly in better previous movies ("Gran Torino", "Million Dollar Baby", "The Fighter"). But it is funny, it is sad at times (Mr. Eastwood's heart-wrenching singing of 'You are My Sunshine' is forever embedded in my head), and it is easy on the eyes, ears and mind, a relaxing pleasure to watch. It is great entertainment. From all the big- budget blockbusters out in cinemas last summer, this is a joy. You'll walk out smiling.
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