Gus (Clint Eastwood) is a veteran scout for the Atlanta Braves baseball team. Over the years he’s proven his worth by using his eyes and ears to correctly judge prospective players for the organization but now as old age sets in his eyes are failing him. This along with saber metrics (scouting talent by statistical analysis) threatens Gus’s livelihood and with only three months left on his current scouting contract his usefulness comes into question by the Braves top brass. Sensing that Gus might be in trouble his long time friend and immediate boss, Pete Kleint (the always great, John Goodman) asks Gus’s daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) to join Gus on what could be his last scouting assignment.
This movie wants to be sentimental and emotional, and for the most part it is, but there are more than a few times when it flirts with just being cheesy. Mickey’s character, towards the end has a few of these moments and Gus has his share in the beginning.
[And just to sidebar a moment, when the hell did Clint Eastwood decide to type cast himself as the “Curmudgeonly Old Fart“?? Dude!?! “Fang Shmaay“?? Self deprecating limp dick jokes??? You’re firkin Dirty Harry!!!! I’ll bet you 20 bucks that I’ll see Bruce Willis rolling away from fiery explosions in slow-motion from his wheel chair in Die Hard 12 before he ever does what your doing to yourself!! So please, no more roles where your yelling at people to get off your lawn or errr, “Give you your damn check!!”.]
Anyway.. The movie doesn’t pick up until Mickey joins her dad on the road and the two grapple with the seemingly enormous emotional gulf between them. This “grappling” between them is the heart of the movie, and is done very well. It also leads to what I guess would be a mild surprise towards the end of the movie, that is supposed to help you sympathize with Gus. And it worked, for me anyway. I don’t have a daughter, but what’s revealed in the movie definitely hit a soft spot with me.
And yes, Justin Timberlake is in it too, but in all reality his character is just fluff. I like him as an actor but his lack of depth in this movie is sorely visible when responding to Adams or Eastwood. And can someone please tell him that staring off into the distance before you say EVERY line is a hack way to appear thoughtful and deep?? (for reference see Gina Carreno in “Haywire“). The movie tells us JT ‘s character is necessary to the story because he helps Mickey bring her guard down enough to confront her feelings towards her father, but the down-turn their romance takes is forced and not necessary. We know they belong together so why drag it out? No other performances here stand out to me. Matthew Lillard does his best impression of the Bob Sugar character from Jerry McGuire, but its not a good one.
Overall TWTC is a solid movie that wants to be great, but misfires in too many places to accomplishgreatness.