Eastwood Returns To Acting With A Baseball Drama

In Trouble with the Curve, Clint Eastwood plays Gus Lobel, a venerable scout for the Atlanta Braves who finds it increasingly difficult to mask the creeping ravages of old age. Gus is a cantankerous coot who trips over furniture because he is on the way to going blind, a condition he understandably tries to hide from his boss Pete, played by John Goodman.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A few years ago, Clint Eastwood said he was probably done with acting. It was around the time he starred in "Gran Torino," about a former auto worker in Detroit. But this weekend, he's back on the big screen with the baseball drama "Trouble with the Curve." Kenneth Turan has our review.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: Clint Eastwood plays Gus Lobel, a venerable scout for the Atlanta Braves who finds it increasingly difficult to mask the creeping ravages of old age.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE")

JOHN GOODMAN: (as Pete) Gus, you home?

CLINT EASTWOOD: (as Gus) No.

TURAN: Gus is a cantankerous coot who trips over furniture, and bites the head off of anyone who makes a mistake of trying to help him out.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE")

EASTWOOD: (as Gus) That's fang schmay - don't you know anything?

TURAN: The reason for that furniture-tripping is that Gus is on the way to going blind, a condition he understandably tries to hide from his boss Pete, played by John Goodman.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE")

GOODMAN: Gus, have you thought about what you might do when your contract's up?

EASTWOOD: Sure. Sign another one for more money.

GOODMAN: You ever think about retirement?

TURAN: With the baseball draft coming up, the Braves need to know whether to use their number one pick on a North Carolina high school phenom. Pete insists that no decision be made until Gus eyeballs the kid. But suspecting that those eyeballs are not what they used to be, Pete asks Mickey Lobel for help. Mickey, named after Yankee slugger Mickey Mantle, is Gus' daughter, gainfully employed as a big-time lawyer in Atlanta. She agrees to Pete's request and travels to North Carolina to help her dad, even though he's dead set against the trip.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE")

EASTWOOD: (as Pete) What are you doing here?

AMY ADAMS: (as Mickey) I had some vacation days. Couldn't think of a better place to use them.

EASTWOOD: You should be back home doing your job, same as I'm doing my job here.

TURAN: Amy Adams, rapidly becoming Hollywood's go-to actress for characters who take no guff, plays Mickey - and really seems to enjoy the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with Eastwood. As for the 82-year-old star, his gift for making acting look relaxed and natural makes this amiable, old-fashioned film worth watching. "Trouble with the Curve" also underlines how unusual it is for Hollywood to place someone with more wrinkles than Grandma Moses front and center in a major motion picture. The audience loses a significant part of the human experience when filmmakers shy away from portraying this stage of life. And it's great that someone of Eastwood's clout is willing - and able - to make sure that doesn't happen.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times.

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