Kevin Costner has starred in some of the best sports movies in history: “Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams,” even the underrated golf comedy “Tin Cup.”
“Draft Day,” unfortunately, is the worst sports movie Costner has ever been part of.
Lovingly endorsed by the NFL — which provides its logos and trademarks, not to mention commissioner Roger Goodell — “Draft Day” serves as a souped-up promo for ESPN’s coverage of the annual NFL draft, where needy professional football teams divvy up the best players from college.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone who isn’t a football fan would have interest in “Draft Day,” but since football is easily the most popular sport in the country, an audience does exist. That audience, though, would be better off just watching the real thing on May 8.
Costner stars as Sonny Weaver Jr., general manager of the moribund Cleveland Browns on the morning of the annual draft.
Weaver has nothing but problems: He hates his coach, his owner (Frank Langella) is demanding, his legendary father just died, his team stinks and his girlfriend (the team’s salary cap expert, played by Jennifer Garner) is pregnant. There’s also the matter of the draft, and he doesn’t know who to take with the seventh pick in the first round.
Should it be the flamboyant but saintly linebacker (“42’s” Chadwick Boseman, as a poor man’s Rod Tidwell) or the star running back (played by real NFL RB Arian Foster) whose father is a former Browns star?
There turns out to be another option, however, as Weaver makes a blockbuster trade to get the draft’s first pick and a chance at the Heisman-winning franchise quarterback.
The film’s primary problem is that Costner’s somewhat endearing Weaver may be the dumbest general manager in sports history. Well, second dumbest, since the movie manufactures another one to make Weaver look good later.