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Review Roundup: Costner, Garner Hit Theaters in DRAFT DAY

The latest in the long line of Kevin Costner sports movies, DRAFT DAY, hits theaters on Friday. Co-starring Jennifer Garner, Dennis Leary, and three-time Tony-winner Frank Langella the movie chronicles the innerworkings of an NFL front office on the day of the draft. The script was written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph (BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO) and Scott Rothman.

On the morning of the NFL Draft, general manager Sonny Weaver (Costner) has the opportunity to save football in Cleveland when he trades for the number one pick. He must quickly decide what he's willing to sacrifice in pursuit of perfection as the lines between his personal and professional life become blurred on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with dreams of playing in the NFL.

Also featured in the film are such NFL and sports media luminaries as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Jon Gruden, Mike Mayock, Deion Sanders, Rich Eisen, Mel Kiper and Chris Berman.

Let's see what the critics had to say:

A.O. Scott | New York Times

"DRAFT DAY, made with what appears to be the very enthusiastic - not to say domineering - cooperation of the N.F.L., is less a football movie than a promotional film. You will see sweeping aerial shots of skylines and stadiums in franchise cities." Read the full review here.

Kenneth Turan | Los Angeles Times

"Made with the league's complete cooperation, not to mention its spiritual blessing, this is an earnest and way-contrived endeavor that manages, due largely to Costner's efforts, to be genially diverting in a gee-whiz kind of way." Read the full review here.

Scott Foundas | Variety

"Like MONEYBALL, Draft Day (which is the first produced script by the team of Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman) is one of those rare sports movies more concerned by what goes on in the executive suite than on the playing field, and it's refreshingly smart about the complex decisions that go into making the hires and trades that often send fans into a tizzy, but which may be in the long-term best interests of the team." Read the full review here.

Scott Bowles | USA Today

"When it comes to sports films, Kevin Costner is a natural. From Bull Durham to Field of Dreams to TIN CUP, the former High School athlete seems to find his rhythm on cinematic playing fields. And while he's not as dexterous as he was in those terrific films, he's got enough in the tank to carry DRAFT DAY." Read the full review here.

Stephanie Merry | Washington Post

"Make no mistake, this isn't a sports movie so much as a procedural about backroom dealings, double-crosses and high-stakes trades. It's about the games before the games. And if writers Scott Rothman and Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright Rajiv Joseph had stuck to the basics - if the plot was just business - it might have worked." Read the full review here.

Tony Hicks | San Jose Mercury News

""Draft Day" may eventually be known as the film that launched a thousand new football fantasy leagues. And just like a typical sports fantasy league, this film isn't exactly well-grounded in reality, but it offers enough breathless fun to make viewers not care." Read the full review here.

Michael Phillips | Chicago Tribune

"DRAFT DAY feels like a play, and I don't mean a football play. It feels like a play-play at its sporadic best...Set mostly in a series of offices across 13 hours in a pressure-cooked day, the film lives and dies on the low-key, take-it-easy spectacle of Kevin Costner maneuvering his way through an administrative obstacle course, crises intermingling with draft-pick opportunities." Read the full review here.

Todd McCarthy | Hollywood Reporter

"In his most effective full star turn in perhaps a decade, Kevin Costner dominates as the greenhorn general manager of the beleaguered Cleveland Browns who could emerge from the heavy shadow of his late revered father with the successful handling of the annual draft of college players." Read the full review here.

If you joined the draft room opening weekend, add your review to the round up in the comments below.

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From This Author Matt Tamanini