*** out of ****
Draft Day is the football movie equivalent to the baseball draft pick drama Moneyball (2011). It's the day of the NFL Draft and general manager of the Cleveland Browns, Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner), is struggling to put together a winning team. The choice college draft for quarterback is superstar-in-the-making Bo Callahan (Josh Pence), but Sonny has a gut feeling that this kid is not the perfect player he appears to be. The Browns coach (Denis Leary) is battling Sonny on virtually every pick, and to add more drama to a tense day, Sonny finds out that his executive girlfriend, Ali (Jennifer Garner), is pregnant.
The movie is directed by Ivan Reitman who is primarily known for comedies like Ghostbusters (1984) and Kindergarten Cop (1990). This is Reitman's best film in a while. His directorial flourishes here, like the exuberant use of split-screen, make the picture very exciting, despite many predictable elements.
Costner is great in a forceful performance and, even though she isn't given that much to do, Garner is good as usual. Smaller roles are filled with familiar faces like Frank Langella, Ellen Burstyn, Sean Combs, Terry Crews, Sam Elliot and Rosanna Arquette.
Draft Day is a compelling inside look into how the NFL Draft works. Sports fans will love it, but non-fans will be equally enthralled.