Tag Archives: trailer

You Have the Right to Laugh at ‘Let’s Be Cops’

Let's_Be_Cops_posterWhat would happen if Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill finally stopped looking young enough for school and had to become actual patrol cops? Well, probably something like “Let’s Be Cops”, which features insane buddy cop chemistry between Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr.

“Let’s Be Cops” focuses on two down-on-their-luck friends who dress up as cops for a costume party, only to quickly realize that people believe they are actually police officers. They play along until they get mixed up with the mob, and have to put their fake badges on the line. Andy García and Rob Riggle costar as Luke Greenfield directs.

I am a huge fan of Jake Johnson. He is by and far the best part of the show “New Girl” and is memorable in smaller roles in films such as “21 Jump Street” and “A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas”. Now he finally gets the opportunity to star in his own film, alongside fellow “New Girl” alum Damon Wayans Jr., and he does not disappoint.

The chemistry between Johnson and Wayans is what makes the movie. They have great back and forth, and you truly believe that these are two longtime friends from Ohio (which the film oddly feels the need to remind you of numerous times, for whatever reason). Whether it is improvising an interrogation, or simply telling the other one to “shut the [blank] up”, you can’t help but smile every time these two are on screen together.

“Let’s Be Cops” also has some very well done cinematography and editing, two aspects that don’t receive enough credit by the average filmgoer, especially when it comes to comedies. Cinematographer Daryn Okada has some beautiful pan-up shots of the Los Angeles skyline, and also infuses the film with some throwback TV cop drama-style techniques. Meanwhile, editors Bill Pankow and Jonathan Schwartz keep the film moving at a brisk pace and it makes for an enjoyable 104 minutes.

Now the script is a bit shotty, with some scenes featuring a joke and then cutting to the next scene quickly. In many cases the scene cut because you realize had it continued, the characters would be exposed as fake cops and the movie would be over right there (like waving their guns in a restaurant or driving their homemade police cruiser through the middle of a park). Also, much like last August’s “We’re the Millers”, “Let’s Be Cops” does begin to slow at the homestretch, because both films’ gimmick plots began to wear thin.

I laughed countless times watching “Let’s Be Cops”, and on more than one occasion I laughed very hard. True story: I missed gym session today (well, skipped it). Luckily, I still got a solid ab workout from watching this film. Get it? Because I laughed so often?! Ohhhh boy. I’m just too funny sometimes.

Critics Rating: 7/10

‘Hercules’ Much More Brawn than Brain

Hercules_(2014_film)            Because there truly are no original ideas left in Hollywood, we now have the second film in 2014 about the legendary mythical character of Hercules. The first movie, which few people remember and even fewer liked, was released in January. This second attempt features Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the titular role, so it should be awesome right? (That was rhetorical)

Directed by Brett Ratner, “Hercules” follows The Rock as a sword-for-hire, having completed his legendary twelve labours. When a king’s daughter approaches Hercules to save her father’s kingdom, his skills will be put to the test. Ian McShane and John Hurt costar.

Walking into a film directed by Ratner and starring Dwayne Johnson in a loincloth and sandals, one shouldn’t have very high expectations. However I still expected more than what this film ends up delivering.

The world of Greek myths and gods is an incredibly immersing one, and has created some amazing stories and movies. And this telling of Hercules takes an interesting twist on the legend, implying that perhaps Hercules really is a mortal man, and his legendary triumphs are just that: legend. But instead of taking these questions somewhere, the film breezes over all of the stories and confirms them as fact or fiction in the first 10 minutes of the film, leaving the rest of the time for you to simply wonder what could come next. No, literally wonder what could be possibly be next; most everything shown in the trailers are part of the opening montage.

Johnson does a solid job as Hercules however he is given surprisingly little to do. He is pretty one-note, just having to play the solider with bulging muscles who yells things during battle. Many of the other performances range from hammy to awkward, especially those of the princess and her son. Both shriek and scream most of their dialogue (in distracting British accents, I might add), and you actually debate rooting for the villains when the two are put in danger. Plus, a lot of the characters have that forced, unfunny Brett Ratner humor, which rivals Michael Bay for the worst in films.

There are two main battle sequences in the film, and both are shot well by Ratner, especially by PG-13 standards, so I must give him props there. There isn’t an overabundance of shaky-cam or slowmo, and there are a few fun camera shots that put you in the action. However in both instances the scenes overstay their welcome, and become redundant and derivative instead of exciting and invigorating.

The special effects are nothing special, the dialogue is at times abysmal and the story flips between rushed and underdeveloped. I went in wanting an over-the-top sword-and-sandal blockbuster and “Hercules” doesn’t delivery even that. The Rock tries his best but it was just too big a Herculean task (pats self on back) to save this drawn out, and awkwardly paced, adventure that we’ve seen many, many times before.

Critics Rating: 4/10

‘Tammy’ a Large, Unfunny Mess

Tammy_poster            I’m not going to sugarcoat it: ‘’Tammy” may be one of the most unfunny movies I’ve ever seen. And I endured through “Grown Ups 2”.

Starring and co-written by Melissa McCarthy, and directed and co-written by her husband Ben Falcone, “Tammy” follows McCarthy as she embarks on a road trip with her grandmother (Susan Sarandon, only 24 years older than McCarthy in real life).

McCarthy really has been typecast at this point as the larger, sloppy woman whose life is a mess. Think about all her movies and tell me I’m wrong.  Speaking of which, her films are really hit-and-miss for me; I really liked “The Heat”, however “Identity Thief” was very underwhelming. But compared to “Tammy”, “Identity Thief” looks like comedy gold.

Not much in “Tammy” works. From the script, to the direction, to the performances, everything ranges from average to boring, near all of it being unfunny.

The script, written by McCarthy and Falcone over the period of a few years, is just so jumbled. There is a point in the film when Tammy turns to her grandmother and says “I don’t know where I’m going”. The movie has no idea, either. There are points where two characters will be in the middle of a conversation and it will just take a turn and go into darkly dramatic territory. And it doesn’t do it with finesse like “Funny People”, but actually makes you feel awkward and depressed.

Even McCarthy and Sarandon, two generally likeable actresses, are given near nothing to do and their characters are both pretty one note. Tammy is a caricature of McCarthy and doesn’t really have a character arc; Grandma is an alcoholic and that is pretty much the only thing we learn about her for the whole film. There is a brief second that Tammy addresses her grandmother’s drinking, but that is breezed over in one scene.

If the film was funny, even in a stupid way, it would be easier to forgive its structure flaws but the fact is I may have laughed twice. And those laughs were awkwardly forced because I appreciated what the effort of the actors. But I’m going to be honest: I was bored during a large portion of this movie.

“Tammy” should have been better than it is; much better, in fact. With McCarthy starring, people like Mark Duplass and Gary Cole in supporting roles, Will Ferrell producing and even Dan Aykroyd making an appearance, this kind of feels like 2012’s “The Watch”: lots of big comedic names that add nothing to a sloppy, unfunny mess.

I went into “Tammy” with an open mind; it’s been a month since “22 Jump Street” so I haven’t had a solid laugh at the movies since then. But I would watch Jump Street a hundred more times before sitting through “Tammy” again, and you would be wise to follow me. Jokes are set up and never executed, and the film is poorly edited and paced. It isn’t the point of a comedy to have fun? Because someone forgot to tell the makers of “Tammy” that.

Critics Rating: 3/10

‘Jersey Boys’ Almost Too Good to Be True


            So I was the youngest person in the theater by at least 20 years. Not really a relevant way to begin a review, but I just found it interesting.

“Jersey Boys” is directed by Clint Eastwood and is based off the Broadway play of the same name. It tells the semi-fictionalized tale about the rise and fall of the band The Four Seasons. Three out of the four actors who portray the Seasons’ members also portrayed them in the Broadway version, and Christopher Walken stars as a mob boss.

Clint Eastwood movies are really polar; half are invigorating and entertaining, like “Million Dollar Baby”, while some are boring and slow, such as “Hereafter” and (to some people, but not me) “J. Edgar”. “Jersey Boys” has the unique distinction of falling into both of those categories; some of the movie is interesting and well-paced, while other parts are slow and suffer from tone identity crisis.

“Jersey Boys” is a tale of thirds. The first third of the film almost feels like “Goodfellas”, and I really was enjoying myself. The group was doing odd jobs around town, just trying to make a name for themselves. Then they form the band and the music is infectious and catchy (I’m still humming the songs). And then comes the film’s final stretch. It chooses to divert from following the band and instead focus in on Frankie Valli and his struggles at home, and the film slows down. Like kind of a lot.

John Lloyd Young won a Tony for his portrayal of Valli on stage and he does a good enough job in front of a camera, however he just doesn’t have the Hollywood acting chops to hold up an emotional scene. When on stage you have to speak with words more than body and facial expression, but a camera can catch everything and some of the faces he makes when the scene is supposed to be dramatic are almost awkward.

Christopher Walken is great doing his normal Christopher Walken thing however my favorite character in the film was Tommy DeVito (not the “Goodfellas” character), played by Vincent Piazza. He is a quick-talking conman who knows what to say to get what he wants, even if that means falling into debt with the wrong people. Piazza has some funny one-liners, and steals most every scene he is in.

One of the things I enjoyed about the film also was that the four main characters occasionally break the third wall and address the audience. Each one of the musicians gives exposition for a fourth of the film, just like how in the Broadway version each narrates a fourth of the play. I guess you could say they each have their own… season [looks around for high-five, puts head down]. Alright, moving on.

When “Jersey Boys” is good, it is very good and entertaining. However when it doesn’t work and hits a wall, especially in the final act, it is almost boring. It almost redeems itself with a well-done ending, however it then overstays its welcome and it just becomes a generic, feel-good wrap up.

Here’s what you get with “Jersey Boys”: the music is catchy, the set pieces are top-notch and there are a decent amount of laughs. I just wish the film was a bit shorter (clocks in at 134 minutes) and had better pacing near the end. But it’s an above average film and probably great for people of the Baby Boomer generation.

Critics Rating: 6/10

’22 Jump Street’ is a Sequel that Soars

22_Jump_Street_Poster               You know the old saying: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This usually is the model for comedy sequels, and more often than not it results in a familiar, lackluster film (see: “The Hangover Part II”). And here comes “22 Jump Street”, a sequel that once again uses the exact same formula as the first film; the only difference is it knows it.

Once again starring the perfectly paired Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, this time around the duo has a new mission: they must infiltrate a college in order to find the supplier of an extreme new drug that is posing a threat to teenagers (yeah, sound familiar?). Phil Lord and Christopher Miller once again direct.

Self-relevant humor, when done right, can be the funniest version of comedy (just look at “This Is the End”, “Seven Psychopaths” and even the first “Jump Street”). Much like how “21 Jump Street” knew it was an unnecessary spin-off of an old TV show, “22 Jump Street” knows that it is an unnecessary sequel, and pokes fun of that fact. It notes that Hill and Tatum’s second undercover mission now has twice the budget, and that they should investigate everything as they did the last time; the characters do everything short of turning and winking towards the camera.

The chemistry between Hill and Tatum is so good, it’s almost unfair. There may not be a pair of actors that work better together in Hollywood than these two, and there has certainly never been a better buddy cop couple. Tatum looks like he’s having the time of his life, and there is one scene where he parades around that had my sides hurting.

Directors Miller and Lord once again show that they are perfect for this project, as they insert sound effects and animation into the most random of scenes, and it only adds to the comedy, as if giving the audience a cue of when is the perfect time to laugh.

Because this is a sequel, the film takes advantage of every stereotype that accompanies sequels: from larger, over-the-top action scenes (exploding goalposts), to more colorful sets (the climax takes place in spring break Mexico), all the way to unneeded (but not unwelcomed) returning characters.

Now for all the funny self-deprecating sequel jokes, the film does make a bit too many (they literally say “just like last time” until the film’s final scene), and at times it does feel like they were beating a dead horse with the same one-line. There are also some plot points that are never resolved, but they aren’t glaring enough to ruin the film.

“22 Jump Street” is what every sequel should do, but very few attain: it makes improvements upon the first film while at the same time doesn’t ruin the legacy of the original. “22 Jump Street” is just as funny as its predecessor, and I would very quickly shut up and give Lord and Miller my money if and when “23 Jump Street” comes around…even if this film jokes that a third film may not be the best idea (culinary school, anyone?)

Critics Rating: 8/10

‘A Million Ways to Die’ Funny but Messy

A_Million_Ways_to_Die_in_the_West_posterIt’s becoming a larger and larger problem in Hollywood: trailers, particularly comedies, give too much away about a film, and when it comes time to watch it there is little surprise left. That is one of the flaws about “A Million Ways to Die in the West”, the second live-action film directed by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. The film features an ensemble cast, including Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris and Liam Neeson.

The trailer paints an entirely different plot than what the movie is actually about, and I’m finding it somewhat difficult to give a plot synopsis, but really all you have to know is the film is two hours of Seth MacFarlane, a sheep farmer, learning to fire a gun from Theron and complaining about how the Wild West is a terrible place.

I’ll make one thing clear: the film is funny. There were a couple times I think I missed a joke because I was laughing at something that was just said. And there is no doubting MacFarlane’s ability as a writer; he once again has some very clever and very funny envelope-pushing jokes that you laugh at, even when you know you shouldn’t be laughing. There are also a half-dozen cameos which are chuckle-worthy, and there is one that is brilliant…if you haven’t seen the trailer. Unfortunately for me, I did see the trailer and the surprise was ruined, which actually made me upset. I don’t know why they needed to ruin such a great thing, and they didn’t even start showing the cameo in the trailers until two weeks ago. Trailers, man…

The largest problem with “A Million Ways” is that, much like Peter Jackson or Quentin Tarantino, MacFarlane the director keeps most things he shoots in the final cut of the film. The running time of this movie clocks in at 116 minutes, and there are probably three faux endings before it finally abruptly ends. There really is no excuse for such a long running time with a comedy.

Much of the movie feels like an inside joke and rightfully so; the entire concept started as joke among MacFarlane and the film’s other writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild that the Old West must have been a deadly place to live. Much of the film is so awkwardly stitched together and there are so many random subplots that it just feels like a bunch of random scenes from a Family Guy episode just played back to back. They just threw a lot of jokes against the wall in hopes something would stick.

Each of the cast members brings something to the table (except Amanda Seyfried, who is in here simply to put one more big name on the cast list) and MacFarlane has his funny moments, but he just seems out of place as a live-action leading man. Some of his deliveries are awkward, and other times he just can’t hold up the scene with Theron or NPH (that’s what we cool kids call Neil Patrick Harris). I also have to imagine that Liam Neeson was cast as an American cowboy simply because Family Guy once made a joke that “nothing would sound more out-of-place than Liam Neeson trying to play an American cowboy”.

“A Million Ways to Die in the West” is messy and overlong for sure, but it is also funny. It isn’t on the same level as “This Is the End”, or even “Ted”, but it is still a fun time at the movies. I think MacFarlane should stick to making movies set in present day because he thrives off of pop culture references and lampooning American culture; not making a joke about tumble weeds.

Critics Rating: 6/10

‘Godzilla’ Roaring Good Fun

Godzilla_(2014)_posterRemember how excited (and relieved) you were when “Batman Begins” was released in 2005 because it helped to give you closure after the atrocity that was “Batman and Robin”? Well we now have “Godzilla”, which should put to rest the pain that the 1998 film of the same name left more than a decade ago.

Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen, this reboot is yet another American take on the classic Japanese monster. Gareth Edwards, who directed the 2010 indie film “Monsters”, directs his first Hollywood picture here.

The 1998 Godzilla film wasn’t just bad; it has become a pop culture punchline. Directed by Roland Emmerich, the man known for disaster films, the film itself was a disaster.  It was stupid, loud and dumb, but above all else it did not do the title character justice. Luckily almost all is forgiven because the 2014 adaption had nowhere to go but up.

The 2014 Godzilla design itself is a return to form, and a very cool one at that. It looks more like a reptilian dinosaur, not whatever the heck the other thing was back in 1998. I don’t want to go into too much detail (I personally avoided trailers before seeing the film), but I think fans of the series and the creature will not be disappointed. They brought back the iconic Godzilla roar, and when he emerges from the ocean or through a cloud of smoke you can’t help but have shiver shoot down your spine.

Strangely enough, however, for a movie entitled “Godzilla”, the film focuses more on the human characters than Godzilla himself. Its a lot like how in “The Walking Dead” it isn’t about the zombies–sorry, walkers, its about the humans living in a world that happens to have walkers in it. If a monster movie is going to take that route then you have to be sure that you make the audience care about your characters and they are multi-dimensional. And does “Godzilla” do a good job with this? Well, yes and no.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, known for kicking ass in “Kick-Ass” (see what I did there? Yah, you get me), plays a soldier who is trying to get back to his family in San Francisco, but gets caught up in the military’s plan to destroy Godzilla. You care about Johnson as a person but you only see him with his family for one 10 minute scene, so it is hard to get an emotional attachment to them. It’s a lot like Brad Pitt in “World War Z”; you are told that he’s a family man and if he fails his mission it will be the end of the world, but in the end you only want him to succeed because he’s the main character.

The direction and cinematography of the film are both really solid, particularly when buildings are getting destroyed by Godzilla, and some of the shots that show one of the main characters locking eyes with the creature are very effective. The film’s biggest problem is pacing, which derives from an excess of subplots. The Army seems to have a few different plans to save the world but never feel obligated to share them with the audience, and then you have Bryan Cranston being a conspiracy nut and Taylor’s wife running around in the rain (seriously, about 80 percent of her screen time is running). If they had shrunk everything down and compacted it, I feel this would have been a much tighter and more enjoyable film.

“Godzilla” isn’t perfect, but it is better in every single aspect than the 1998 film, and is in fact everything I wanted “Pacific Rim” to be. The direction is creative, the acting is solid and the effects and designs are top notch. It may not be the king of the summer movie season, but “Godzilla” does get it off to a roaring good start.

Critics Rating: 7/10

‘Neighbors’ a Fun Watch

neighborsImagine the Farrelly Brothers directed “Animal House”. The outcome would be something very similar to “Neighbors”. Directed by “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” director Nicholas Stoller, the film stars Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as new parents whose life is turned upside down when a fraternity, led by Zac Efron and Dave Franco, moves in next door.

Seth Rogen was placed on Hollywood’s comedy radar when he exploded onto the scene in 2007 with “Knocked Up” and “Superbad”. Since then, he has made films that have been revered as some of the funniest films of the past decade, like “Pineapple Express” and “This Is the End”. It can be argued that he has never made a bad film, and certainly never something as lazy as most Adam Sandler movies. And the fact that “Neighbors” is not one of Rogen’s funniest films, but is still a solid film, says a lot.

In the very first scene of “Neighbors”, you know exactly what kind of movie you’re in store for. The film opens up with Rogen and Byrne awkwardly trying to get intimate in front of their newborn baby (yeah, the movie is set in a world where Seth Rogen can get a girl like Rose Byrne). The film has its share of gross out gags, and fair share of genitalia jokes, but it knows exactly where to end the joke and never overdoes it, like so many wannabe raunchy movies try to do.

The best part of “Neighbors”, a film featuring established comedy stars like Rogen, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Hannibal Buress, is Zac Efron. For some reason, some people don’t like Efron. They say he’s just a pretty boy or a Disney Kid, or are just plain jealous (I mean, just look at the guy). But Efron may have just found his new niche, because he is perfectly cast as Teddy, the leader of the Delta Psi fraternity. Seamlessly blending cool nice guy with jerk, Efron steals every scene he is in, and possibly part of what makes his role so great is seeing the star of “High School Musical” dropping f-bombs and smoking joints.

What holds “Neighbors” back from the levels of Rogen’s other films is the amount of jokes in the film. While there are a lot of moments with clever gags or funny one-liners, there are sometimes five to ten minute segments where you won’t laugh; either a joke falls flat or there just doesn’t even seem to be one attempted. “Ted” had a similar issue; the film is never boring, it just may not be as funny as it thinks or hopes it is.

Editors don’t get enough credit from the normal filmgoer, so I’ll give Zene Baker, the editor of “Neighbors”, major props. The film is very well paced; its 96 minutes and but never feels rushed, and there are a few fun transition shots.

“Neighbors” isn’t the funniest film Seth Rogen has ever made, but it is still very entertaining. Zac Efron may have broken out of his shell and the rest of the supporting cast each lend something special. The film has its share of heart, too. I guess you could say the film is neat, tight and easy to watch; just like Zac Efron’s torso.

Critics Rating: 7/10

‘Spider-Man’ Sequel as Mediocre as First

The_Amazing_Spiderman_2_posterEvery now and again a film comes along that has a lot of potential but just can’t quite reach the levels it is striving for. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is such a film. A follow-up to the unnecessary 2012 reboot, this sequel follows Spidey (Andrew Garfield), as he struggles to deal with his emotions towards Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) while at the same time battling a new supervillain known as Electro (Jamie Foxx). Marc Webb directs.

The first “Amazing Spider-Man” was simply alright. There were a lot of creative ideas and potential, however it was weighed down by numerous similarities to the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, as well as a very underwhelming villain. This sequel manages to fix some mistakes that bogged down the original film, however many issues still linger.

First things first, Andrew Garfield is a very good Peter Parker. He nails Spider-Man’s sarcastic attitude, even in the middle of conflict, and has solid chemistry with Stone, as well as Sally Field, who plays Aunt May.

Speaking of character chemistry, that is by and far the strong point of “Amazing Spider-Man 2”. Marc Webb, who directed the rom-com “500 Days of Summer”, is very good at directing emotional scenes, making them feel genuine and human. The film has plenty of funny pieces of dialogue, and there are a few lump-in-the-throat inducing moments as well.

Unfortunately, the film did not learn from the first go around in the villain department. The Lizard was underdeveloped and lacked any real motive in the first film, not to mention his design wasn’t too impressive either. Here the film goes 0 for 3, missing with Electro, Rhino (Paul Giamatti) and Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan). All three have no true motives for their actions, are underwritten and not one of them affects the plot; I’m not even kidding, except for the end battle, the movie would be completely unchanged if none of the villains were in the film.

A superhero film should be driven BY the villain, not simply FEATURING one. Look at “Spider-Man 2”: Peter has his own issues and is fighting the choices he has to make, but Doc Ock is featured as a fleshed-out character and is ultimately the reason Peter decides that he has to be Spider-Man. None of that is present here. Rhino is essentially a cameo, Electro is cliché (think of Jim Carrey’s Riddler story arc from “Batman Forever”) and the Goblin is shoehorned in to fill a plot point and set up a spin-off film. I also wasn’t a fan of the design of Goblin and Rhino, but that is purely personal opinion.

The battles are well-shot (although most every action scene is shown in the trailer) and the interactions between Gwen and Peter are entertaining, but “Amazing Spider-Man 2” cannot overcome the cluttered plot and indecisive narrative. I almost feel bad for kids who have this as their staple Spider-Man. When the Raimi films came out, I remember how much everyone in my school loved them, and I distinctly remember seeing “Spider-Man 2” and being blown away (it’ll be the 10 year anniversary next month). Unfortunately there’s just nothing awe-inspiring or memorable about this new series.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is at its best when Spider-Man isn’t on screen, and in a film with the word “Spider-Man” in the title, I’m not sure how much of a positive that is. The film is entertaining, for sure, and I was never bored, but at more than on occasion I was sitting in my seat thinking “why does this movie exist?”. There’s a point in the film when Electro says, “I will show everyone what it’s like to live in a world without Spider-Man”. If only he could actually make that happen…

Critics Rating: 6/10

‘Draft Day’ an Engaging and Fun NFL Ad

Draft_Day_poster            As if there isn’t proof enough that the NFL doesn’t have an offseason, here comes just another piece of evidence to support the claim: I give you “Draft Day”, the new film starring Kevin Costner.

Directed by Ivan Reitman, the film follows Cleveland Browns general manger Sonny Weaver Jr. (Costner), who trades three of his team’s future first round draft picks for the number one overall pick. This move is met with scrutiny and anger from much of the organization, especially the head coach, played by Denis Leary. Jennifer Garner costars and multiple real-like NFL personalities, like Commissioner Roger Goodell and Deion Sanders, make cameos.

It is easy to write this film off as one big ad for the NFL, because the commercials and trailer certainly portray it as one when they insert real-life players, despite no real players appearing or even being mentioned in the film (aside from Texans running back Arian Foster, who is actually in an acting role as a draft prospect).

But when you look past the over glamourized portrayal of the NFL, “Draft Day” is a very entertaining, at times intense, film, with shades of “Moneyball”.

Kevin Costner does a solid job as the film’s protagonist. He portrays a man who has a lot on his plate, having traded away his team’s future for a single pick (or “a cow for magic beans”, as they say in the film). On top of that, his general manager is threatening to fire him if the draft is a bust, his girlfriend tells him she is pregnant and his father passed away the week before. A lot to take in on the most important day of the year.

The real strength of the film lies in the NFL-based statistics and draft analysis. This film can be enjoyed by most everybody but the audience that will enjoy it the most is the people who like the behind-the-scenes of football; looking at potential picks and what are the skeletons hiding in their closet. In the film, everyone thinks a QB out of Wisconsin is the unanimous number one overall pick; however Sonny isn’t sold about his personality.

There are quite a few twists in “Draft Day”, some more plausible than others, but they all make for a fun time at the movies. You try and think about what Sonny is cooking up, and how he is going to save not only the Browns, but his job. It is interesting and almost insane to see what NFL GM’s go through on draft day (gasp, that’s the film’s title!) and how many last minute behind-the-scenes moves go on.

The film really doesn’t have too many flaws, as far as an entertainment standpoint goes. There is a 15 minute lag near the beginning of the film, right after Sonny makes the deal for the number one pick, but after that ends it is pretty much non-stop energy until the end of the film. Also, like I said, people who aren’t invested in the goings of the NFL may not be as entertained as people who live and breathe football (like me).

But it is worth mentioning that I saw this film with my lovely mother, who admits she knows little about the NFL besides teams and star players, and she really liked and was engaged by the film. So take that for what its worth…

I really don’t know what else to say about “Draft Day” other than I really liked it. It is a fun, engaging ride, and it was fun to try and think one step ahead of the characters and predict what Sonny possibly could be thinking. If you are a football fan, you will really enjoy this film. If you like business and statistics then you should have a good time, too. If you like bland pieces with forced love triangles, then go watch Twilight or something, because “Draft Day” is probably too interesting for you.

Critics Rating: 8/10