Movie Review: Draft Day
Before you groan about another sports movie take a look at Draft Day. The new film staring Kevin Costner focuses on a day in the life of a Gm of a major football franchise in this case a major day the NFL draft.
Draft Day is full of stars besides Costner as Sonny Weaver Jr. His newly pregnant not-so-secret girlfriend Ali is played by Jennifer Garner, she’s also the number cruncher who makes sure the Browns don’t go over salary cap. Dennis Leary is the head coach Vince and Ellen Burstyn plays Barb, Sonny’s mother and the widow of Sonny Sr. Its been a week since Sonny’s father died and the Browns have the number 7 draft pick. The Seahawks front office uses this opportunity to exploit Sonny and get him to trade for the number 1 draft pick. The rest of the film is about Sonny trying to decide if he going to take the overly pretty but probably not to bright golden boy quarterback Bo Callahan (Josh Pence) Everyone’s expecting Callahan, the team owner Vince (Frank Langella) wants him but nobody’s looked at him since there was no chance he would drop that far. The film has a running Draft Day countdown which unfortunately doesn’t make anything seem faster just slower.
Draft Day’s flaws are mostly in Sonny the backstory with his father the moments when his mom dresses him down and his outward reaction to the news he’s going to be a father make him seem more of a mess then conflicted. Outside of that the rest of the cast seems to be doing what they can to go with whatever their characters are working with.
Draft Day is entertaining enough for the passive football fan. It tries to draw in the hard-core ones with the history of the Browns and the team move, statistics and the 3 players that Sonny is really looking at besides Bo there’s Ray Jennings played by Houston Texan Arian Foster who would be the hometown pick and Vonte Mack (Chadwick Boseman) a Defensive back who desperately needs to be drafted.
I ended up nitpicking a bit since the War Room seemed way to calm, I’ve attended 1 NFL draft in my lifetime and used to host and attend draft parties I’ve seen live war room footage and its usually much more crazy. The also threw out a Ryan Leaf reference; he was the bane of 2 of my fantasy football seasons and I still make Ryan Leaf jokes, but the causal fan will have no idea who he was and the film barely touches how spectacular his fall from the top really was. Even so the film tries to walk a delicate line of reaching the fans from both ends of the spectrum and inbetween. Its a light-hearted movie that does a decent job of ramping up the energy in the 3rd act.
Sean Combs, Terry Crews, Tom Welling, Patrick St. Esprit, Chi McBride and several ESPN employees who sprinkle in Disney references also star.
My Rating: Matinee
Director: Ivan Reitman
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Release Date: April 11, 2014
Run time: 109 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13