Release Date: April 11, 2014
Running Time: 120 minutes
Talk about fantasy football. Director Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day exists in an NFL-friendly world in which the Dallas Cowboys still win Super Bowls and general managers consider squandering their No. 1 pick on a running back, a position that has lost significant draft value in recent years. Kevin Costner’s first off-the-field sports drama finds him stuck between a rock and a hard place as the beleaguered GM of the perpetually hapless Cleveland Browns. With his job on the line, Costner must decide whether to mortgage the future by trading up for the No. 1 pick, so he can draft a highly touted quarterback to please publicity-seeking owner Frank Langella, or stick with his No. 6 pick and draft to meet the needs of the Browns new coach, who is played by Denis Leary. While Costner shows much grace under pressure as the harried GM, Draft Day lets him down in more ways than the Browns have let down its fans since returning to the NFL in 1999. While Reitman’s a master of comedy, or at he was in the 1970s and 1980s, he fails to bring the necessary sense of urgency to a ticking-tock drama that’s already hurt by a predictable script that lacks the thoughtfulness of Moneyball. His casual approach diminishes the importance of Costner’s day and the significance of his decision he must make. Reitman also has his hands filled juggling several contrived subplots, including one involving Jennifer Garner’s team accountant that distract mightily from Costner’s plight. Not that this will deter die-hard football fans from enjoying an insider look at the gamesmanship played in the hours leading up to the NFL’s draft. On the other hand, dejected Cleveland Browns fans will walk away from Draft Day wondering why their team’s GM can’t evaluate talent or work the system as well as his smart and principled fictional counterpart.
Aired: April 10, 2014
Web site: http://draftdaythemovie.com/