I will never understand what makes sports drafts so entertaining, but clearly the filmmakers on this film understood how. Draft Day follows the story of Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner), a middle aged NFL general manager following in the footsteps of his late father, whom Sonny reluctantly fired prior to his passing. The film is set on the most frustrating day in an NFL general manager's career; Draft Day (hence the title). He is forced to make a serious of decisions that will affect the lives of his team, all while trying to hide his relationship with the newly pregnant, Ali (Jennifer Garner).
Draft Day won't appeal far beyond fans of the sport. Unlike other sports-related films such as Rocky or Raging Bull or the more recent Moneyball, Draft Day doesn't spent much time getting you invested in the sport. Well, it really doesn't spend any time on it. Its target audience is the already built fan base of the NFL, not necessarily cinephiles in general. I was lucky enough to find some enjoyment in the film, although that is because there's a lot more going on in this movie than just the drafting. It's a character driven movie, led by another entrancing performance from Kevin Costner, and occasionally a decent one from Jennifer Garner. That being said, not a lot of the other performances are to boast about. For the most part they're fine, nothing horrendous, there's just nobody that stood out.
The stakes are absent, but the pressure is high in Draft Day. It's almost a fictional documentation of how this process goes down, or at least it tries to be. It is set in just one day, nothing before and nothing after. While it successfully gives off how much pressure comes with this job, thankfully elevated by the engaging screenplay and brilliant performance from Costner, it doesn't spend too much time on what would happen if Sonny's plan didn't work. The film was unable to convey that to us, resulting in a lot of frustration for no apparent reason, when deep down you already know how this film is going to play out.
All of the comic relief is forced and unfunny. It's really disappointing to me at least, that this film's humour doesn't work. Even though I went in thinking that this film was 100% a drama, the comedy is underwhelming. When the director of Ghostbusters is making a film, you'd hope it's entertaining. It was, don't get me wrong, but the comedy is so forced, irrational and unfunny. In the most clichéd way possible, Sonny is put in charge of an intern that he must take under his wing and get help from. This character plays no relevance to the plot and is simply there to be comic relief and nothing more. The worst part of it is that his character isn't even funny. The only joke that initially stood out, but has since stopped being funny, was when Jennifer Garner comments on how the players receive jewellery after winning the season.
To sum up, Draft Day won't appeal far beyond fans of the sport, but it's still a fast paced and engaging sports movie that's elevated by another entrancing performance from Kevin Costner and an occasionally decent one from Garner.