When you bring up greatest sports movies, “Draft Day” will certainly not be one of them. The fact that writers Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph managed to find conflict and keep the story of the hours leading up to an imaginary NFL draft interesting is a feat in itself. That being said, self-contained, the movie managed to keep me interested, and I’m not a sports guy.
Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) is the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns. With a loosing record and their beloved coach Sonny Weaver recently passing, Brown nation has Sonny Jr. under a microscope. So it’s no wonder that Sonny is distracted and out of touch with his feelings when his under the table girlfriend and co-worker, Ali (Jennifer Garner), tells him she’s pregnant. This opening scene sets the table for the rest of the film. A mixture of Sonny’s personal life constantly conflicts with his need to focus on his professional duty in picking the right players for the Draft. Yet, that’s real life right? Our personal lives always mix with our professional decisions. That’s a part of what makes the film believable.
The cast of “Draft Day” does a good job of turning the film in to something that feels real. Again, I’m no sports guy, and I’m not sure if teams really call each other to make last minute deals for draft spots but it was intriguing in the film. While this may not be his best sports film by far, Costner brings the weight to the role that we’d expect. Garner is underdeveloped and underused as Costner’s football loving baby momma. Chadwick Boseman plays a side that we haven’t seen in prior films as Vontae Mack, a prospect who wants to play for the Browns. Although his character is very reminiscent of Cuba Gooding’s Rod Tidwell (“Jerry Maquire”).
Director Ivan Reitman uses split screens, and triptychs to help keep the pace moving in a time sensitive movie. (Although sometimes it looks like cartoonish like 2003’s “Hulk”.) The film has a decent payoff by the time it gets to the actual draft that you may not have seen coming. “Draft Day” is fun for the moment you’re in the huddle around the screen but forgettable once you break the huddle.