Kevin Costner plays the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns in the new movie, DRAFT DAY, a film so entertaining that even people who aren't football fans are likely to enjoy it. Costner is an old pro, a bona fide movie star who is really good at playing likable mavericks on screen especially in sports films like this one.
Director Ivan Reitman (yes, the guy who made Ghostbusters is still around) has made a conventional but satisfying comedy-drama starring Costner as a beleaguered general manager trying, against the odds, to get some good young players in the NFL draft.
It's a big day for Costner's character: Sonny Weaver, but in addition to the stress of the draft, he's got a ton of other problems. His father died last week. His employee and girlfriend (played by Jennifer Garner) announces that she's pregnant. His head coach (Dennis Leary) and the team quarterback are unhappy and the team owner (played by Frank Langella) is anything but supportive.
Owner: I need you to make a splash, Sonny, and if you can't do it, then I have to do it.
Sonny: Just to be clear here, you're threatening to fire me, right?
The owner demands that Sonny give up whatever it takes to get the top player this year, a quarterback from Wisconsin. And that doesn't sit well with the head coach who is happy with his current quarterback.
Head Coach (holding a burning sheaf of papers and then tossing them into Sonny's in box): This is the draft analysis, we've been working on for the last two months.
Even Ellen Burstyn as his mother gives him a hard time.
Mother: You sold a cow for magic beans.
Sonny: How does the entire world already know about this, Mom?
Mother: Because I just tweeted it.
Sonny: You're on twitter?
Mother: You're not?
Sonny even gets pressured by some of the players who want to be drafted.
Player (on cell phone): That boy you wanna take, that there's a mistake. Callahan's a poser.
At least Sonny's girlfriend refuses to side with the obnoxious head coach who keeps flashing the Super Bowl ring he earned with the Dallas Cowboys.
Garner to the coach: How is it that the ultimate prize in the most macho sport ever invented is a piece of jewelry?
I really enjoyed watching Sonny try to wheel and deal his way out of this huge mess. Costner makes this world weary guy really come alive.
Sonny on the telephone go another General Manager: Every year someone comes out of this looking like a donkey. You hear me?
Rival general manager: Yeah.
Sonny: Good, because tomorrow I got a feeling it could be you if you don't make this deal.
Yes, DRAFT DAY is a feel good, crowd pleasing movie, but that is no mean feat. And there are some touches of real creativity in the editing. Reitman uses split screens a lot, but he doesn't stop there. He often moves one frame over another to the other side of the screen and he also wipes from one shot to another in either direction…yet the technique is never distracting.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.