"Draft Day" tells the largely implausible story of an NFL team's wheelings and dealings in the hours leading up to the draft, unquestionably the biggest offseason event in major American sports.

Real-life won't imitate this work of fiction, but the film ultimately works.

Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner), the Cleveland Browns' general manager who not long ago fired his late father, begins the day on edge. His back is against the wall and the heat is on to turn around the struggling franchise. Weaver is pressured by the team's owner (Frank Langella) to draft the prized quarterback prospect, but he isn't sold on the choice.

Costner, a veteran of sports movies, adopts a gruff but businesslike exterior and successfully brings three dimensions to the character. His girlfriend Ali (Jennifer Garner), who works for the team, is a bit one-note, though she's handed a great bit of dialogue. Denis Leary brings an ideal amount of attitude as the team's new head coach. Most all, the film works because director Ivan Reitman finds the right tone, counterbalancing the pressure of the situation with plenty of levity.

In the end, non-football fans might appreciate this movie more than the Monday morning quarterbacks.

 

Directed by Ivan Reitman
Starring Kevin Costner, Frank Langella, Denis Leary, Jennifer Garner