Disappointing sports movie from Ivan Reitman featuring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner
The UK release of Ivan Reitman's latest follows on quickly from the NFL getting its first openly gay player, while the spotlight has recently been thrown on the off-field bad behaviour of some of its other members; Draft Day is a behind-the-scenes look at the drama involved in the annual draft pick.
Kevin Costner is Sonny Weaver Jr, the man with important decisions to make regarding new players for the American football team Cleveland Browns. As general manager he's under pressure to buy a star player from the owner Anthony Molina (Frank Langella, turning up to scowl). He’s also living in the shadow of his father who has recently passed away. Highly charged emotions and questionable negotiation tactics mark out Sonny's next 12 hours.
A deluge of confusing information is thrown at the viewer in the first 30 minutes, including the fact that Sonny is shacked up with one of the team's executives, Ali, played by Jennifer Garner (who's seventeen years Costner's junior). Adding insult to injury, Garner is reduced to playing mother hen to the massive egos of this male dominated world. She's essentially a manic-pixie-dream-girl for the entire administrative team. Terry Crews turns up - in the role of an ex-football player - as does Sean Combs, playing a tough-talking agent.
First-time screenwriters Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph aim for a blend of cynical chat and feel-good, fist-pumping moments, but an attempt to mix barbed comments with the control room camaraderie of something like Apollo 13 doesn't work due to a cliché-ridden script filled with one dimensional characters. The pair do admirably attempt to point out how petty squabbles and bad moves drastically alter the lives of the players, but even that veers into cheesy Jerry Maguire territory. Draft Day ends up as the trashy, glitzy cousin to the Oscar-nominated Moneyball, minus the smart statistical hook.
General release from Fri 3 Oct.