Draft Day Movie starring Kevin Costner

Movie Review: Draft Day

Sonny Weaver, Jr. is a general manager for the struggling Cleveland Browns and is looking to make a splash with his draft pick in the new Ivan Reitman film, “Draft Day.” We learn early that Weaver, played by Kevin Costner, is having a romantic relationship with another member of the Browns organization, played by Jennifer Garner.

One of the best things about this film is the use of the NFL license. Costner has said that he wouldn’t have done the film if they weren’t going to use real teams because it wouldn’t feel like a real football movie and his opinion is completely right on. By the time we get to the draft, it is actually exciting and it feels like a draft night because we have been following real teams and have seen real stadiums and logos. That is the most redeeming quality about the movie, because it is otherwise fairly boring with some heart strings trying to be pulled with the father/son aspect and the relationship between Costner and Garner. Neither one of those things works on an emotional level. Instead, they just take time away from the main attraction.

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The build-up to the draft is fairly bland and uninteresting. So much so that Reitman resorts to using a countdown clock throughout the first two acts and multiple split-screen shots between two people talking on the telephone. There are some solid majestic shots of each football stadium and facility when a new team is introduced and the musical score is decent enough, albeit heavy handed towards the end of the film.

Costner does not turn in a great performance in “Draft Day.” Garner plays a decent character who is not a damsel in distress. Instead, she is someone who knows football and just happens to be a woman. The best performance in the film may come from Denis Leary, who plays the new coach of the Browns, who wants to have some input on the team that he will be coaching. Meanwhile, Costner is yearning to put together a team of his own without outside influence. Some of the trades and moves from the general managers around the league are a bit strange and some of the GMs are played as men who panic easily, however I wouldn’t necessarily say that the events of the film are totally unrealistic.

The film ultimately ends up being a public service announcement urging people to go with their gut and is trying to force the message that character matters, no matter the circumstances. You can see the result of the film coming from a mile away; however for football fans and Kevin Costner fans, the fun is seeing how we get there. This isn’t a film that is even close to Costner’s other sports films. I would put it a notch higher than “For the Love of the Game,” but nowhere near his other remarkable efforts.

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