‘Reverse the Curse’ Review: Baseball Is Life

‘Reverse the Curse’ Review: Baseball Is Life

David Duchovny is hardly the first American novelist to find literary profundity in baseball — Bernard Malamud and Don DeLillo spring quickly to mind. Not just baseball as a thing itself — a very American thing, better still — but baseball as a metaphor for Life Itself.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. While Duchovny is the author of several novels, he is better known as an actor and director. His new movie, “Reverse the Curse,” is an adaptation of his 2016 novel — now with a more newspaper-friendly title.

This tale of father-and-son reconciliation is set against the backdrop of the long rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. The year is 1978 and Ted (Logan Marshall-Green) is a struggling novelist who makes his living as a stadium peanut vendor; Marty (Duchovny) is his father, once a low-level ad man stuck in the suburbs, now dying of cancer.

The movie struggles with period detail from the beginning. Green’s stringy wig and mutton chops make him look like Steve Guttenberg in the ’90s comedy “Don’t Tell Her It’s Me” if Guttenberg’s character had been a werewolf. And Duchovny’s haircut is pretty Beverly Hills, despite many of the movie’s scenes taking place in a regular-guy barbershop.

Ted and Marty’s interactions are alternately earthy and highfalutin. On a road trip, they have a flatulence competition, and then one rhapsodizes over a woman whose smile makes “a rip in the fabric of time.” After Ted introduces Marty to weed, Marty is seen reading Walter Benjamin’s “On Hashish.”

Duchovny’s smarts are commendable, theoretically, but the movie falls short of compelling. And for all the novelistic details that he packs in, “Reverse the Curse” moves at the pace of a self-defeating snail.

Reverse the Curse
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or buy on most major platforms.

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