Draft Day (Summit)
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and sexual references.
Starring Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Ellen Burstyn, Chadwick Boseman, Terry Crews, Tom Welling, Sam Elliott, Frank Langella, Rosanna Arquette, David Ramsey, Haley Higgins, Denis Leary, Kevin Dunn, Chi McBride, Christopher Cousins, Patrick St. Esprit, Josh Pence.
Written by Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph.
Directed by Ivan Reitman.
Oh, football, how I love thee. That’s kind of the sentiment most of the male population feels for about 10 out of 12 months in the year, and even in June or July (when there is no football - at least in the form of a draft, free agency period, training camp or games played…not that I noticed or anything), you need a football fix. The NFL Draft happens soon, and all those football junkies can keep calm because there’s a movie called Draft Day opening this weekend.
Kevin Costner plays Sonny Weaver, Jr. the son of a famous (deceased) Cleveland Browns coach – and also happens to be the current general manager for the Browns. Sonny is dating the beautiful and efficient Ali (Jennifer Garner), who happens to be part of the Browns accounting staff (they pretend no one knows about their relationship). With the Browns being …well, the Browns – Sonny is under a lot of pressure to 1) trade up and get the #1 pick, and 2) make the right pick. Sonny likes Vontae Mack (Chadwick Boseman) - a smallish linebacker from Ohio State, but “everybody” knows the lock in the draft is Wisconsin’s Heisman-winning quarterback Bo Callahan (Josh Pence). Sonny is also under pressure to select a running back, and all eyes are on the son of another former Brown great.
Sonny uses his talents of persuasion to acquire the #1 pick, but on Draft Day, he pulls off a huge surprise – which strains his relationship with his starting quarterback (Tom Welling) his mother (Ellen Burstyn), Ali, the Browns fans and team owner Harvey Molina (Frank Langella).
That’s pretty much the movie.
You can kind of figure out where the “plot” is going, and there’s certainly a happy ending that (as the sports cliché goes) “you couldn’t script any better.”
Draft Day isn’t a good, but not great sports movie, unless you’re able to look past the predictable story, the lack of chemistry between Costner and Garner, the improbable outcome, and the fact that it’s yet another film about a hapless Cleveland professional sports franchise (Major League, anyone? Hasn’t Cleveland suffered enough?). It all seems a little too manufactured.
Draft Day also feels like (well, IS) a 90-minute NFL infomercial, complete with full participation of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and several folks who show up in the end credits with “as Himself” next to their names (lots of ESPN personalities, not to mention actual football players and coaches).
Then, there’s Costner – who plays the same old version of himself, only older. Even though he’s still likeable, Costner in a sports film is becoming cliché, and his performance in Draft Day will more than likely blend in with so many other sports roles he’s played over the years.
So, if you’re hoping for a really good sports movie, you may want to trade up on Draft Day.