Draft Day (2014)
The N.F.L.-sanctioned “Draft Day” doesn’t just prominently feature two teams — Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks — at the core of its drama, it also boasts such a glut of cameos — including one by the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell — that if you blink you might miss one. (Head count will follow once the studio issues the press notes.)
Ivan Reitman’s film isn’t so much a celebration of athletic prowess or even good sportsmanship, though. While it does mirror those follow-your-heart narratives employed by many sports flicks such as “Moneyball” and “Field of Dreams,” “Draft Day” demonstrates that shrewd business savvy trumps conviction and passion for the game.
Kevin Costner — star of many a great baseball movie — plays Sonny Weaver Jr., the Browns’ general manager and legacy of a legendary coach. Whoever his plastic surgeon might be is doing a fantastic job, as Costner still convincingly passes for someone who bones and impregnates Jennifer Garner. Sonny kicks off draft day fielding the Seahawks’ offer to trade the first overall pick in the draft for the Browns’ first-round picks for the next three years. Pressured by franchise owner (Frank Langella) and much to the dismay of his coach (Denis Leary), Sonny accepts.
Spoiler alert: Read on at your own peril. Sonny eventually digs up dirt on the top draft pick, Bo Callahan (Josh Pence), and reverts to his original draft choice. In spite of his questionable character, Callahan lands with the Seahawks after all — albeit for a few million dollars less. However unintentionally, “Draft Day” confirms that sports rewards heroes and villains alike. Remember Jerry Sandusky?
Opens on April 11.
Directed by Ivan Reitman; written by Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman; director of photography, Eric Steelberg; edited by Sheldon Kahn and Dana E. Glauberman; music by John Debney; production design by Stephen Altman; costumes by Frank Fleming; produced by Mr. Reitman, Ali Bell and Joe Medjuch; released by Summit Entertainment. Running time: 1 hour 49 minutes.
WITH: Kevin Costner (Sonny Weaver Jr.), Jennifer Garner (Ali), Denis Leary (Coach Penn), Frank Langella (Anthony Molina), Sam Elliott (Coach Moore), Sean Combs (Chris Crawford), Terry Crews (Earl Jennings), Ellen Burstyn (Barb Weaver), Josh Pence (Bo Callahan), Arian Foster (Ray Jennings), Griffin Newman (Rick the Intern), Tom Welling (Brian Drew), Rosanna Arquette (Angie) and Chadwick Boseman (Vontae Mack).