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Infield dribbler: “Trouble with the Curve” is troublingly stale

Maybe it’s something they teach you at film school, but is it really necessary to have the old guy in an old guy movie struggle to take a piss so we know he’s old? Who doesn’t know Clint Eastwood is getting up there?

That’s the first scene in Trouble With the Curve, and the rest of the movie is filled with more of the same — Clint’s eyes are going, his job as a baseball scout is on the line because he’s out of touch, and he doesn’t trust computers because he’s a fossil. And in each of those scenarios, as well as the ones that could actually propel a movie that pairs Eastwood and Amy Adams, this movie’s just empty.

Adams plays Clint’s long-suffering daughter, ignored by her workaholic father and now emotionally distant and unapproachable. Eastwood has a long tradition of attracting comic foils, from Clyde the orangutan to an unfortunate empty chair in Tampa, Fla., and Adams is more than up to the challenge. They bounce off each other well, both in the comedic and dramatic scenes (which are way too brief), but it could be so much better if any of the words they were saying felt the least bit genuine.

There’s nothing here from Eastwood that wasn’t more evident or profound in Million Dollar Baby or Gran Torino. The jokes are stale and the characterization is flat. But this isn’t Clint chasing a check. He’s got plenty of those. He made this movie out of sheer loyalty, which is admirable enough. Trouble with the Curve is the directorial debut of his longtime pupil and producing partner, Robert Lorenz. And with his legacy safe, what harm could it do Eastwood’s career, even if the movie’s not very good? Still, given his status and Adams’ talent, Trouble with the Curve should have a lot more going on. COLIN BOYD