Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Draft Day


Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner and football seem like a winning combination, right?

For the most part, they're exactly that in the Ivan Reitman-directed football movie Draft Day. The film revolves around Cleveland Browns general manager Sonny Weaver, Jr. (played by Costner) as he tries to land the no. 1 draft pick after his team's 13-year losing streak. Garner plays the no-B.S. salary capper and also happens to be Weaver's not-so-unknown mistress.

Both stars' performances have received positive reviews so far, but a few of the more nit-picky film buffs take issue with some of the technicalities in the movie. Most are impressed with Draft Day, like John Hart of the Seattle Times, for example, who calls the flick "a good pick for sports-movie fans." He appreciates Garner, who "works had to give the part some passion and ambiguity," he concludes that, "Costner, naturally, carries the movie and gives it drive and focus."

Variety's Scott Foundas is also mostly pleased with Draft Day, praising its "refreshingly smart" portrayal of what goes on behind the scenes of every trade, calling Costner "a particular pleasure to watch." Garner is hailed for bringing "a no-nonsense edge to her portrayal of a football fanatic working extra-hard to prove herself in the boys club of pro football," although Foundas notes, her casting as Costner's significant other "plays right into stereotypes about Hollywood's age and gender biases..."

Screen Invasion's Sarah Katz has all positive things to so about Draft Day, calling it "a sportsman's sports movie with genuine heart and a feel-good dénouement that reminds us why rooting for the underdog is a time-honored American tradition."

However, the Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy finds the film "almost always engaging and seemingly true to the world it depicts," but laments, "Draft Day is never quite as funny as you somehow think it's going to be."

Now for the hecklers! The Wrap's Inkoo Kang slams the "gridiron drama" as "stodgy and boxy—and not too much to look at, either," adding that the flick "is about as daring as daring as a pair of dad jeans–and just as ugly." Katz is no fan of this "amateur hour" movie's technicalities, stating that, "scale, lighting, and palette make for a cut-and-paste collage effect that's distractingly hideous."

Indy Week's Isaac Weeks also slams the movie's "antiquated visual flourishes more befitting a community college film student than a director of his [Reitman's] experience, but praises Costner "continuing a quiet career renaissance," claiming that "the arrogance that can sometimes detract from his performances is nowhere to be found, as he believably inhabits the role of a harried middle-aged man chasing his last shot at relevance."

Draft Day hits theaters this Friday.

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