SPOILER ALERT! If you’ve read Lisa Schwarzbaum’s review of Trouble With the Curve, you know she found it a tad predictable. And she’s right: We knew the nice kid was a big league pitcher in the making from the moment he threw those peanuts to the totally unlikable hot-shot hitter being scouted for the Braves by Clint Eastwood’s Gus. We knew Mickey (Amy Adams), Gus’ lawyer daughter who was along for the ride because her father’s eyesight is going, would eventually fall for Justin Timberlake’s Johnny, a pitcher once recruited by Gus who blew out his arm when he was traded to the Red Sox and then became a scout for them. We knew even though Gus told the Braves – and Johnny – not to select the hot-shot because he couldn’t hit a curve ball, the Sox would believe Johnny and pass on him and the Braves wouldn’t believe Gus and take him. We knew Johnny would get fired and end his budding romance with Mickey, thinking that she and Gus had planned to steal the No. 1 pick all along. We knew Mickey would, in the end, bring the nice kid for a tryout with the Braves and he’d strike out the hot-shot. We knew Mickey would quit her job at the boys’ club law firm that wouldn’t make her partner and become a sports agent – and get back together with Johnny (who’d be waiting by his car like he was Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles, because what thirtysomething woman wouldn’t want that?).
Plot points being telegraphed and wrapped up nicely (we also knew Matthew Lillard’s character would get canned), doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the movie. I’m a sucker for baseball flicks and films that show workaholic women finding new jobs that make them happier. But it does mean that it was slightly odd that we didn’t get to hear what Gus asked for when the Braves told him he could have whatever he wanted if he’d renew his contract. I assume the filmmakers thought it’d be overkill to spell it out for us, but clearly Gus told them that he wanted to hire Johnny (who mentioned his inexperience early in the movie) as his eyes/driver, and he’d train Johnny to replace him. Right? Then agent Mickey can spend her life on the road with Johnny as she’d wanted to do with her dad.
If the happy ending is what you’re selling, make it as happy as possible, I say.