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April 12, 2014 | 12:19 p.m. CST
Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) is the general manager of the Cleveland Browns. Starting before the crack of dawn, Weaver makes his way through all-important draft day with the recent death of his father, the opinionated Coach Penn (Denis Leary), and the future of the team hanging over him. Directed by Ivan Reitman, Draft Day is a flurry of phone calls, news broadcasts, and changing minds.
Costner is a lot of what he was in Nicholas Sparks’ Message in a Bottle: gorgeous, brooding, a little less tragic but troubled all the same. Still, it’s difficult to decide whether we should be on Weaver’s side or not. Ali (Jennifer Garner) is a strong character – very likable – but she’s not given the time to shine that she deserves. Thank goodness for poor, unappreciated intern Rick (Griffin Newman) who is the source of comic relief throughout the film – brilliantly played.
So many questions stay unanswered until the final scenes; t feels like an episode of CSI where you don’t know whether to suspect the ex-con without an alibi (the obvious choice) or the mild-natured aunt. The plot is intriguing, but tacky techniques like the use of slow motion when Weaver throws down a mysterious, folded note that pops up over and over throughout the film (when its mystery is finally revealed, it was hardly worth the build-up). Not to mention the constant swelling and relaxing of the standard suspenseful music, which spoils the tension a little. Worse than this is the way the pieces just fall into place by the time the credits roll. Everyone is happy and friendly, completely disregarding the conflicts that run throughout the film.
However, the film’s crowd scenes were really well done: vividly colorful, lively and very realistic.
By the closing scenes I was intrigued, but somehow still not interested. Perhaps those who are more emotionally invested in the game of football itself might feel more in this film. For others, there may not be enough else to keep your interest.