First Hit: Although very predictable, it was enjoyable as a "feel good" film.
Gus (played by Clint Eastwood) is as gruff and unlikable as can be. This is the kind of role that he’s been taking lately which has me wondering about his ability to actually act differently.
He plays a baseball scout who is going blind, has a daughter who is as driven and as stubborn as he is in her job as a lawyer, and has some awareness that he is starting to lose his physical abilities. His daughter Mickey (played by Amy Adams) is named after Gus’ favorite baseball player Mickey Mantle.
She is angry at her father for abandoning her and not really talking with her when they meet, about once a week, for dinner. She’s quick to leave their encounters and most of the time I didn’t think she worked hard enough to create a constructive conversation.
She goes with him on a scouting trip because she notices her father is failing and Gus’ boss Pete (played by John Goodman) asks her to. They meet up with a Boston Red Sox scout named Johnny (played by Justin Timberlake) who was once recruited by Gus but his arm burnt out early in his career.
The scenes between Mickey and Johnny are some of the best in the film because the better acting in the film is done by these two. Although the film is very predictable, especially when peanut boy throws a bag of peanuts at the next great hope Bo Gentry (played by Joe Massingill), it works well enough to sit through.
Eastwood seems and feels very constrained in this grumpy role. I think he’s comfortable in the role, but it is so confined at times that it is almost painful to watch. Adams, is good as the abandoned daughter who wants to let go of her anger and let love enter her life. Timberlake is the best thing in this film. He’s so relaxed and just a joy to watch. Goodman is OK as Gus’s boss. Randy Brown wrote an expected script in that each next scene and the final outcome was always known. Robert Lorenz didn’t put anything new, interesting or powerful in this film.
Overall: Enjoyable fluff, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon family DVD watch.