directed by Ivan Reitman, 2014
By this point, it’s safe to surmise that the roles Kevin Costner will most likely be remembered for are those decades removed from where the 59-year-old actor stands now. Baseball classics such as Bull Durham (1988) and Field of Dreams (1989) will live on, while others like Tin Cup(1996) and For Love of the Game (1999) add to a career already carved out of playing the underdog. Now, up steps Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day, which represents a brief sojourn in the world of professional football for Costner and Reitman, a director best known for his ’80s commercial hits like the two Ghostbusters films and Twins.
With a seemingly uninhibited blessing from the National Football League, Draft Day is by all accounts the closest we’ve come to seeing what goes on behind the scenes of the largest moneymaker in professional sports. This is a world filled with built-in jargon, backdoor dealings, and a milieu reminiscent of the one depicted in Bennett Miller’s Moneyball (2011). However, for as much as it routinely gets right, Draft Day is far from a model of authenticity. Lacking the similar sharpness, wit and drama of the environment it sets out to capture, Reitman’s film is safe, predictable, and ultimately weighed down by its thin characterizations and frequent stretches of implausibility. Only an ever-charismatic Costner gives the film flickers of a decipherable pulse; having always exuded a palpable sense of cool in his better roles, this reliable actor once again shows how earnestly believable he can be even when surrounded by such middling frivolity.