Left Kevin Costner and Right Jennifer Garner In “Draft Day”
Kevin Costner has made a career out of starring in excellent sports movies like Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, and For The Love of The Game. His latest Sports film, in which he teams up with director Ivan Reitman of Ghostbusters and Up In The Air success, falls short of becoming another film worthy of remembering. It’s not due to the acting in the film either, which boasts a cast featuring Frank Langella, Jennifer Garner, Ellen Burstyn, and Even Denis Leary. The problem is it omits details about the NFL draft and pretends its audience already knows how the system works. Which depending upon what you watch for primetime television could make all the difference. You may enjoy classic Narrative television such as The Blacklist or come home ready to watch that Patriots game. Clearly the football fan would be well versed in how an NFL Draft works as who is a top pick, which this film spends a good deal of time on and is one of several problems with it.
Cleveland Browns General Manager Sonny Weaver JR (Kevin Costner) has been given an ultimatum by his boss Anthony Molina (Frank Langella) to change things up with this draft or pack his bags, luckily for Sonny he still knows how to do this, but he is going to have to pull some strings first because he just traded his three first round picks for the next three years to the Seattle Seahawks for a supposed first pick Bo Callahan (Josh Pence). Sonny’s new Coach (Denis Leary) tells him he’s crazy and how bad of deal he just made. Not to mention that he says he notices he’s sleeping with the head accountant Ali (Jennifer Garner). It’s shortly after this mistake that Sonny realizes that he could create the team he’s always wanted. However, he must first deal with his mom Barb (Ellen Burstyn) whom discovers his major mistake via twitter and plans on coming by the stadium to spread his father’s ashes, because he too worked for the browns.
This could be considered one of Ivan Reitman’s more serious films although he did not direct Up in The Air, he served as a producer on it. The idea behind Draft Day was it wanted to take you into the world of a General Manager on his busiest day of the year. The problem with this is The NFL Draft takes place over three days and the film would have you believe it all takes place all in one day. This is semi-factual in that all major picks are made on the first day, but for the rest of the recent college graduates out there these three days are crucial if they are going to have a career within the NFL.
Kevin Costner pulls of a believable General Manager, just not a very good one. Because lets face it would any sane GM trade first round picks for the next three years? I think not. Jennifer Garner shines as Sonny comes to her for help dealing with his problems throughout this very hectic day. Meanwhile Denis Leary does what he does best and tells people how things really are. Ellen Burstyn’s Barb is certainly a wonderous character that feels for some reason spreading her husband’s ashes on the Browns field will make him happy, but why wait until Draft Day? When any other day of the week will suffice; Maybe that’s a question for writers Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph who have written decent dialogue to go along with their film in need of a few more rewrites.
Overall Draft Day is an entertaining film and it could have been better if it had included the omitted information about this important day as well as found something better to do with Academy award winning actress Ellen Burstyn. In many ways the film is eye opening to those that may know nothing about how an NFL draft works and for those that do may find it a complete bore.