You’re the general manager of the Cleveland Browns.
It’s the day of the draft, your girlfriend (who also happens to be the team’s capologist) is pregnant, you’re riddled with guilt over the recent death of your father (who happened to be the legendary head coach whom you fired) and you’ve got the seventh overall pick.
It’s gonna be a long day.
That’s the plot of the new movie “Draft Day”, starring Kevin Costner as embattled GM Sonny Weaver, Jr. — tasked with bringing the Browns back to glory. It’s fiction, after all. You’ve got to suspend disbelief.
Weaver and his staff are in the final stages of their preparation, and seemingly everyone in the Browns’ organization is on a different page. The owner, played by Frank Langella, wants Sonny to make a splash — namely figuring out a way to get his hands on Bo Callahan, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Wisconsin. The new head coach (Denis Leary) wants Ray Jennings (Arian Foster), a troubled Florida State running back whose father (played by a toned-down Terry Crews) was a lifelong Brown. Weaver himself likes high-strung Ohio State linebacker Vontae Mack, played very capably by Chadwick Boseman (“42”).
So, how do you make that splash?
Weaver mortgages the future of the team to deal with Seattle, and acquires the No. 1 pick. The next 90 minutes is a struggle of conscience for the general manager, complete with some pretty hokey investigative work on some of the players he’s considering.
There simply was just too much that fell into the category of unbelievable for the film to be considered good. First, I didn’t buy a lot of the football elements — from Leary’s unconvincing performance as coach Penn, to Jennifer Garner’s portrayal of Ali, the beautiful number cruncher who loves the game. Maybe the most ridiculous football moment was a phone conversation between Weaver and the head coach of Wisconsin (played by Sam Elliott, of all people) when the coach answers a cellphone in the middle of a spring practice to talk about his departed quarterback, Callahan.
But the romance between Costner and Garner wasn’t believable either, possibly due to the fact that they’re attempting to hide it from everyone. There was very little chemistry between the two characters, and quite honestly, Garner’s role was unnecessary. Her presence felt like an attempt to lure females who may not be football fans to the theater in search of a good romance. Keep looking, ladies.
“Draft Day” is not horrible, it’s just not as good as it could have been. Oh yeah — Chris Berman is in it too, so you’ve been warned.
I give it a grade of C, but you’ll see it anyway. After all, the NFL shield is on it, and that’s enough to make people watch.