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Draft Day - Movie Review


2 stars

Kevin Costner returns to the wide world of sports in Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day. Already a champion of two classic sports films (albeit baseball themed), Costner is no stranger to what makes rooting for the underdog so much damn fun. Even with the minor splash of Tin Cup, Costner’s body of work in the sports flick is mostly admirable. In his latest, he tackles the behind the scenes spectator sport of the NFL Draft.

It was once oh so private but now – in the anti-privacy age of Facebook, Twitter, and live television – the behind the scenes drafting of future NFL superstars, covered by print and broadcast, is now a sport all to itself. Costner plays Sonny Weaver Jr. And Sonny’s ass is on the line if he can’t make a big splash on Draft Day to help the downtrodden Cleveland Browns. As Manager, it is his job to get this day and the team just right while his nervous owner (Frank Langella) and angry coach (Dennis Leary) and pregnant girlfriend (Jennifer Garner) hassle him about his job.

You see, Sonny – months before his father passed away – actually fired him from the team and his father was beloved among the Browns. Now, he’s Public Enemy Number 1 by damn near everyone except his girlfriend. Even his still-grieving mother, played by Ellen Burstyn, blames him for screwing up the team.

Wheeling-and-dealing his way through the movie, Sonny acquires the number-one pick for his team but, with twelve hours left in the draft, questions that very move. He spends the rest of the movie trying to assemble the team that will make everyone – but mostly himself – happy.

Draft Day doesn’t take place in locker rooms. There is only one featured. The rest of the film takes place in offices, board rooms, and is centered around long-distance telephone calls. So, in order to fill this film with some zippy energy, comedy director Reitman (Ghostbusters, Stripes, Dave) adds some visual pep with fancy split-screen techniques throughout the film. They are entertaining but they don’t really add to the drama; they take away from it as you watch one person cross into another person’s screen and back out.

Written by Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman, Draft Day plays a mean joke on any audience expecting a hard-hitting look at the big, bad business of football. Garner has publicly confessed – and she’s right – the honest truth about the movie. It’s a chick flick disguised in shoulder pads, a uniform, and a helmet. There’s no denying that this is a lipstick smearing, tight dress wearing sports flick designed to get men’s asses in theater seats.

Costner does a fine job. The story is a bit farfetched and, I imagine, the more you know about professional football the less this film holds up, but there it is. Draft Day is – at the very least – entertaining but it just doesn’t hold up to Costner’s game.

Moneyball it ain’t.


[tab title="Film Details"]

Draft Day - Movie Review

 MPAA Rating: PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references.
109 mins
: Ivan Reitman
Scott Rothman, Rajiv Joseph
Kevin Costner, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Garner
: Drama | Sport
The greatest victories don't always happen on the field.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Every year someone comes out of this looking like a donkey."
Summit Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 11, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available
Synopsis: On the day of the NFL Draft, general manager Sonny Weaver (Costner) has the opportunity to save football in Cleveland when he trades for the number one pick. He must quickly decide what he's willing to sacrifice in pursuit of perfection as the lines between his personal and professional life become blurred on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with dreams of playing in the NFL.


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