'Draft Day' a No. 1 draft pick for football flick fans

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comApril 11, 2014 

Film Review Draft Day

This image released by Summit Entertainment shows Kevin Costner, left, and Jennifer Garner in a scene from "Draft Day." (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Dale Robinette)


The release schedule for Draft Day is a puzzle. It's a pro football flick about a general manager for the hapless and real life Cleveland Browns who is desperate to land the number-one pick in an upcoming college draft.

Talk about perfect for the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl, or for the opening of the pro football season. But here we are at the beginning of the 2014 major league baseball season with a movie about pro football. Maybe the target is millions of football addicts desperate for anything football in the dead months of summer.

To the movie. Set on draft day, Kevin Costner is Sonny Weaver, the general manager of the Browns. His owner is pushing him to trade for the top pick in the draft, which he does. And the owner has a pick in mind that he's pushing Sonny to get.

To get there, Sonny practically sells the proverbial farm to our own Seattle Seahawks. That doesn't please the team's coaching staff and the head coach played by Denis Leary. Frank Langella plays the team's owner.

Draft Day is more than just football. There's an office romance Costner's Weaver has with Jennifer Garner's Ali, who is his numbers cruncher. Weaver's father once ran the team, so he is living in dad's shadow and must deal with Ellen Burstyn, who plays his mom, and who is still connected to Weaver's ex-wife.

Draft Day is a long, hard drop from director Ivan Reitman's Ghostbusters, Stripes and Kindergarten Cop glory days. Maybe the movie is therapy of sorts as his film's general manager -- constantly reminded of his team's glory days -- is desperate for some, or even any, success.

The movie -- mixing too many plot lines -- isn't going to get Reitman or any of the actors back to their golden years. Reitman and his first time screen writer Scott Rothman and TV's Nurse Jackie writer Rajiv Joseph should have just stuck with football. The office romance is doable because Garner is so damned good, but the daddy drama drags down an already slow-moving film.

The big plus is Costner, who is never better than when he is doing a sports movie. He's perfect as the team's general manager, and the chemistry between him and an also perfectly cast is, well, perfect. Perfect in an imperfect movie packed with past and present football heroes in cameo roles. But imperfection is the nature of sports and sports movies.

I wouldn't draft this as my first pick for a weekend movie, but if sports movies are your think, this is definitely a number-one pick.

-- How's Mr. Movie's movie picks this week? Let him know at www.tri-cityherald.com/arts/mrmovie.

Director: Ivan Reitman

Stars: Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary, Frank Langella, Sam Elliott, Kevin Dunn, Ellen Burstyn, Rosanna Arquette, Chris Berman, Jon Gruden, Deion Sanders, Ray Lewis, Jim Brown, Bernie Kosar

Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars

Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It's playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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