"How is it that the ultimate prize in the most macho sport invented is a piece of jewelry?"
Draft Day seems like a film aimed towards a specific target audience considering it takes place during one of the most important days for NFL fans. However, it actually spells out everything in such detail (Cleveland home of the Browns, and so on) that it seems its trying to attract audiences who aren't really familiar with the NFL draft or what it all means. Why they decided to take this approach I don't know. Perhaps they were aiming to attract Kevin Costner fans around the globe and hoping that the American Football theme wouldn't be too heavy handed. That explains why the screenwriters tried to introduce familiar dramatic elements such as giving Costner a love interest and having him go through the struggle of dealing with the loss of his father a few days ago. I wish they would have focused this exclusively to NFL fans and didn't spend so much time trying to spell out the rules of the league in order to attract a wider audience. I mean why go through all the trouble of acquiring the rights to use the NFL franchise players and names if you are later going to aim it towards a wider audience that may not know the difference. As a follower of the NFL I would have enjoyed it if they didn't spell everything out, but it was just a minor issue I had with this enjoyable film. Despite not liking the subplot surrounding Costner's character and his relationship with Jennifer Garner's Ali, I really enjoyed the premise revolving around the draft and the tension created as the clock was winding down and a decision had to be made. I think I'm just a bit biased towards sport movies, but I actually had a good time with this film despite all its major flaws.
Kevin Costner comes through in his role as his character has to come to a crossroad in his professional and personal life in less than 24 hours. His charisma comes through and saves a premise that may turn viewers off. With a stronger subplot this film could have been great, but it was just too generic and predictable. Jennifer Garner's character had no depth and she could have been given a stronger role. The film basically relies on Costner's lead performance and he manages to make this movie enjoyable enough for a mild recommendation. The few attempts at comedy involving the intern (played by Griffin Newman) also failed. Draft Day may not rank amongst director Ivan Reitman's best work, but it is an improvement from his recent films. Don't get me wrong, this isn't the football version of Moneyball, it isn't even close, but it's still a small enjoyable film and an opportunity for Kevin Costner fans to see him shine again in a sport film (with which he's had success in the past). Reitman overuses some technical shots at times, like the split screens which had a novel feel to them at first but he repeats them over and over again. The build up surrounding the events of the draft is very intriguing, but the subplot involving the family drama is what pulls Draft Day down.