Director: Ivan Reitman
Starring: Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella
Runtime: 1 hr 35 mins
What It Is: Every year the 32 teams of the NFL make the dreams of college players everywhere come true. GM’s everywhere prepare game-plans, and their epicenters known as “war rooms” stack up on a giant board filled with names. One such man is Sonny Weaver Jr. (Costner) son of the (fictional) legendary head coach of the team he’s now in charge of building the Cleveland Browns. With personal issues bearing down on the eve of the draft, and with pressure from his owner (Langella), and new head coach (Dennis Leary) those personal problems could not have come at a worse time. Will Weaver bring dignity back to Cleveland football, or would they once again continue to be the proverbial punchline of the NFL.
What We Think: Costner is as smug as ever here, and for me that’s how I like him. Whether he’s ripping his coach, or a team intern with some incendiary comment it comes off as a guy under a ton of pressure. People will categorize this incorrectly as a “football” movie. They’d be wrong. Most sports films have a ton of on-field shots, and action, Draft Day does a good job of shying from the on-field action, it is more in the vein of Jerry Maguire, and Chadwick Boseman in this case is a poor mans Cuba Gooding Jr. with his performance. One inherent flaw is that often times it seems like a giant NFL commercial. Josh Pence comes off as arrogant with his character Bo Callahan, but not in a good way, it’s almost irritating, like a small child .
Our Grade: B-, While it’s an enjoyable film it starts falling into cliche far too many times. It lacks originality, but make no mistake Reitman shows up to the job with his eye in tact. This makes Draft Day visually awesome. From the trade prospects Weaver receives from around the NFL to the conversations with draftees all the phone conversations use a really cool split screen effect that I thought gave the movie a fresh look. Overall a solid if unspectacular look at how stressful the whole draft process is.
Draft Day opens April 11th in theaters nationwide.