|Adams and Eastwood love baseball.
Directed by Robert Lorenz
Produced by Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, and Michele Weisler
Written by Randy Brown
Starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, and John Goodman
In Robert Lorenz's first attempt at directing, Eastwood makes the perfect codger, feeding off his notorious on-screen persona, as aging baseball scout Gus. For years, he's been signing prime draft picks to major league teams, but his eyesight is failing him. His lawyer daughter Mickey (Adams) has grown up around baseball, even though her and her father are not very close. At the request of Gus' friend Pete (Goodman), Mickey takes a few days off to help her father scout a North Carolina top prospect. Scouting for another team is Johnny (Timberlake), a former pitcher who Gus signed before he suffered a career-ending injury. Mickey is prepping a very important case, while she opens up to both men. Baseball has brought them together, and it might just see them through, leading to happier lives for the threesome.
Though this is a sports film, of sorts, it really isn't about the baseball at all. Director Lorenz and screenwriter Brown recognize this, and give the cast room to develop their characters in this world of motels, diners, bars, bleachers, and hot dogs. In other words, the characters are at the forefront, and rightly so. Eastwood, Adams, and Timberlake do just fine, with supporting players like Goodman, Matthew Lillard, and Robert Patrick also performing well. That said, the film is rather conventional, with its share of light and dark moments and a predictable happy ending. Not that it is in any way unsatisfying, it's just nothing we haven't seen before. As a crowd-pleaser, it does its job, and the cast makes the film a pleasant viewing experience. Slightly recommended for the performers, but it isn't an essential watch.
Oscar Potential: Best Actor (Eastwood), Best Actress (Adams) (Adams is better here than in The Master, but the film probably won't get nominated.)