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Film review: Draft Day

Kevin Costner's gridiron football drama plays to the sports crowd.
In Draft Day, Kevin Coster and Jennifer Garner play co-workers who are secretly involved. Dale Robinette/ Summit Entertainment
In Draft Day, Kevin Coster and Jennifer Garner play co-workers who are secretly involved. Dale Robinette/ Summit Entertainment

Draft Day

Director: Ivan Reitman

Starring: Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella

Three stars

Kevin Costner, an actor who made his name in hit movies surrounding baseball, enters the world of American professional football in Draft Day. The veteran star plays Sonny, the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, who embarks on an unusual but potentially groundbreaking strategy for the forthcoming 2014 NFL draft.

While he is nowhere near the box office draw he was 20 years ago, Costner cuts an assured figure in this most American of stories, sparking well with co-stars Jennifer Garner (as the team’s lawyer and Sonny’s secret girlfriend) and Frank Langella (delightfully caustic as the team’s abrasive owner).

With the Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman at the helm, the film maintains a gentle demeanour that is hard to dislike, putting a human face on a rather thin story. However, the strategy and thrill of this fictional NFL draft will be absolutely lost on those not familiar with the world of touchdowns and quarterbacks.

The portrayal of the business side of the sport is interesting – the film itself is arguably a promotional film of sorts – but jam-packed with statistics, averages and data that doesn’t exactly add punch to the narrative. Like Brad Pitt’s Moneyball, it tries to underline the beauty of outside-the-box thinking and bucking tradition, but doesn’t accomplish this as thoroughly as the 2011 Oscar nominee.

It is hardly the most enthralling film in the world, but for those who eat and sleep gridiron football, Draft Day’s affection for minutiae and easy charm – exemplified by the charisma of its lead – may be enough.

Updated: July 9, 2014 04:00 AM

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