‘Draft Day’ wants to be known as the Super Bowl of sports movies, but it ends up more like the Pee Wee Football Championship game. It tries its hardest to make a bunch of NFL General Manager guys talking on the phone sound interesting. The end result is a season-ending must-win game that ends in a tie.
Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) is the GM of the hapless Cleveland Browns. His father, once the coach of the Browns, has recently died and now Sonny needs to make his mark. Sonny is going to have one tough day.
The team owner Harvey (Frank Langella, never without dark sunglasses) is pushing Sonny to deal for the first-round draft pick. Coach Penn (Denis Leary) wants him to stick with the current quarterback, so Penn can lead the team to a Super Bowl victory like he did in Dallas). Ali (Jennifer Garner) who is in charge of the team salary cap, and is also Sonny’s pregnant girlfriend, also has a say it what is going on. Even his mother Barb Weaver (Ellen Burstyn) makes her opinions known.
The movie is pretty much static, with a bunch of guys in one room calling and talking on the phone with a group of other guys. They talk, they trade ideas and players, and people react with either glee or anger. Most of what is going on goes over the head of most of the audience, unless they are deep into football.
The endless talking and talking is done in some pretty creative ways. There are multiple frame shots with one guy on one side and the other guy on the opposite side, but they slide off the screen or move to a new area to make some movement. In one scene a guy walks down a hallway on the right side, while talking with Sonny. He then crosses right in front Sonny (on the phone in a different place) and then walks up another hallway.
The dialog is pretty cheesy. Sonny “Do you have time to talk some football?” Ali: “I always have time to talk football”. Sonny: “Remember son, you only get one chance for your Draft Day”. Wow, deep and meaningful…
There are many NFL cameo shots, and some really brief roles that do not go anywhere. Sam Elliot is wasted in a role as a college football coach. Also, Sean Combs as a slick sports agent for the number one draft pick has nothing to do with the role.
It seemed as though Kevin Costner was going to back into making good movies in a big way. But in the few most recent one that he has been in (“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”, “3 Days to Kill”) and now this one, Costner is going to be sacked and will remain on the sidelines.