With the start of the NFL season coming this week I thought I would welcome it in with a viewing of Draft Day, the Ivan Reitman-directed film that was released this past spring to coincide with the actual draft. In many ways Draft Day feels like the football equivalent of Moneyball. It has a fast-talking script and a solid set of performances that lead to a film that can bring the more complicated parts of a certain sport to a wider audience. Draft Day may have more faults and less moments of greatness than Moneyball, but it’s still a solid film nonetheless.
Draft Day follows Kevin Costner as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns as he tries to orchestrate a strong draft for his team during the day of the draft. His hectic day has him crossing paths with many people, and Draft Day does a good job of assembling a cast while also giving a large majority of its cast a moment to shine. Chadwick Boseman is one of the clear highlights as a linebacker that is being stereotyped as a loose-cannon as he demonstrates that he can still be the center of attention in a much smaller role compared to some of his more recent work. It also helps that the film has a strong anchor with Kevin Costner, whose Sonny Weaver Jr. is portrayed as a heavily flawed man that is in way over his head.
The fact that the script is able to make such a flawed character likeable reveals that it is another one of the strongpoints of this film. It’s talky, energetic and filled with one-liners. Also, Ivan Reitman knows just what to do with such a script as he employs a flashy style that doesn’t distract but instead helps keep the film flowing at a quick pace.
That being said this film is not without its faults. Draft Day tries to be realistic as it finds every opportunity to mention real NFL events and players. Yet the plot of the film plays out in a manner that would never happen in the NFL, which wouldn’t be so bad if the film didn’t have to maintain that it was in the real life NFL universe. Additionally, Jennifer Garner does her best but her character’s secondary storyline is so ridiculous and superfluous that the scenes centering on this plotline are like nails on a chalkboard.
Draft Day is a fun attempt at making one of sports’ most ridiculous events relatable.