There's a reason why the Cleveland Browns stink. In the movie, Draft Day, Browns General Manager Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) trades three consecutive first round draft picks for the number one over all pick in this year's draft. Such a move will mortgage the future of the team. Okay, it's fictional but it's this kind of bonehead decision that makes the Browns such a NFL disaster.
Draft Day's plot revolves around Weaver's desperate maneuver. It's assumed he will pick the can't miss quarterback prospect, Bo Callahan. But something bothers Weaver about him. If Weaver picks him and he's a bust then he has wrecked the Browns for years to come. Okay, in the movie and in real life they are a mess but a mistake of this magnitude may cement the future of the Browns as a doormat for other NFL teams. During the momentous draft day, Weaver must deal with the passing of his late father a week earlier and the decision to fire him as coach of the Browns. He also has the weight of the demands of the owner, Anthony Molina, (Frank Langella) who wants a "splash" on draft day to excite the fans, a head coach, Vince Penn (Denis Leary) who feels left out of the process, and his girlfriend Ali Parker (Jennifer Garner) who just happens to be the Browns salary cap specialist.
There are some good things about this movie. It's exciting as Weaver must juggle all he information about Callahan and later try to wheel and deal during the day with his other picks. I like director Ivan Reitman's use of split screen to place competing general managers negotiating on the screen. The performance by Costner is top notch. He's under a lot of pressure.
But there are some real problems with this movie that will keep it from being a great movie. And I'm not talking about the discussion of Joe Montana's winning drive against the Cincinnati Bengals mentioned in the film. I'm a Bengals fan. But I digress. First, if you know nothing about the NFL draft, you may be lost. A little exposition would have been helpful. Then there are the unbelievable plot twists and melodrama. You have a plot where Weaver's father died a week before; he's he guy that fired him. Then throw in the girlfriend who happens to work in the office. Way too much melodrama. And there is the unbelievable plot twist in the last third of the movie dealing with the Jacksonville Jaguars GM. You've got to suspend disbelief that Jaguars GM would act like that. All of this is wrapped up in a Hollywood ending. I laughed out loud at one of the plot points dealing with Ali at the end of the movie. It was like a fairy tale.
Draft Day is a thrilling but flawed movie about decision made during the NFL draft day. If they had just gone for less Hollywood type of resolutions, it could have been a much better film. The grade is B.