Cleveland Browns general manager Sonny Weaver Jr. (a nicely cast Kevin Costner) is having a bad day. His legendary dad died a few weeks earlier, his office sports-wonk girlfriend (Jennifer Garner) just told him she’s pregnant and the NFL draft kicks off in 12 hours. The team owner (Frank Langella) wants a splashy Heisman Trophy winner—the better to sell tickets—and the irritating head coach (Denis Leary) spits disagreement with everything he says. Should he do what they want or go with his gut? Now, what do you think?
At the same time convoluted and simplistic (call it MoneyBall lite), this Ivan Reitman sports procedural gets understandably confusing when the wheeling and dealing starts. (Screenings in Japan get a little PowerPoint prolog explaining draft pick trading. Gotta love it. Wish it were in English.) It frequently strays into NFL infomercial territory, and the pacing’s glacial unless you’re one of those people who follow the football news between seasons.
But it’s genially diverting, and it finally gains a sense of urgency during the fun final 20 minutes. Could have done without the annoying split-screen visual gimmickry. No sports are played. (107 min)