“Will ‘Draft Day’ surpass ‘Major League’ as the iconic Cleveland sports movie?” asked the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Glenn Moore Thursday, perhaps unaware at least one reviewer — in this case, ScreenRant’s Ben Kendrick, had already declared the Kevin Costner star vehicle, “outright absurd at times”.
In an endeavor to make cross-country phone calls stimulating, Reitman toys with an enhanced (and constantly shifting) split-screen effect that, if it weren’t for a commanding turn from Costner, could have been dizzying. Fortunately, the veteran actor appears to relish in GM Sonny Weaver’s view of the Draft Day dilemma, which requires idealism, pragmatism, as well as a sense of humor, resulting in an absorbing and often downright relatable protagonist. That said, the character’s evolution throughout the movie isn’t particularly nuanced – making it hard to believe that Weaver is actually in control of the situation (as opposed to just a lucky opportunist).
Outside of the principle characters, most supporting players are thinly scripted caricatures – which also make it relatively easy to predict where all the puzzles pieces will fit as the narrative plays out. This isn’t to say that audiences will guess every plot point ahead of time, but in spite of high-powered trades, Draft Day rarely offers truly engaging surprises. Ultimately, the only genuinely shocking revelation is just how far Reitman ventures to test disbelief in the final thirty minutes.