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Kevin Costner + sports movie = How can you go wrong? In the lightweight dramedy “Draft Day,” he plays the beleaguered general manager of the Cleveland Browns on a day of professional and personal turmoil.
As the deadline ticks down to the moment when NFL teams draft the top of the college crop, Costner’s embattled executive has to cope with other Machiavellian GMs, his team’s insufferable owner (Frank Langella) and the young players’ character flaws and foibles.
Then there’s an avalanche of family baggage from his girlfriend/Browns salary cap expert (Jennifer Garner) and his overbearing mom (Louise Fletcher, comically believable as a dragon lady who can effectively browbeat Costner).
As the Browns’ head coach, Denis Leary is stratospherically over the top.
Ivan Reitman’s direction uses countdown clocks and endless split screens of teleconferences to goose up the tension surrounding the all-important draft picks. The script follows suit by having Costner bob and weave through a series of risky bluffs and mind games with his fellow GMs.
These shenanigans would doubtless get him fired on the spot, but this “Moneyball”-lite is clearly designed to end in cheers, not tears. Don’t worry if you’re not a hard-core gridiron fan — Costner’s cool charisma and the universal nature of office politics make this accessible anyway.
⋆⋆ out of four stars
Rated: MPAA rating: G
With “Rio 2,” the creators of “Rio” give us more of everything that their first film had in just the right doses. But more is not always better.
There are more stars in this birds-of-the-Amazon musical, with Broadway’s Kristin Chenoweth, Oscar winner Rita Moreno, Andy Garcia and pop star Bruno Mars joining in. And all of them sing. Because there are more tunes. And more animals. And there’s more story, as Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) take their brood (they now have three kids) into the Amazon to help Linda (Leslie Mann) and her scientist husband Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) track down a rumored lost, last flock of bright blue macaws.
One thing the cluttered, overlong “Rio 2” lacks in extra supply is jokes. Mostly, the humor aims much younger here, with kid-pandering gags that only tiny tykes will find funny. Blue Sky Animation is back to cranking out good-looking animated sausage to its old “Ice Age” formula, which is a singing, crying shame.
Roger Moore, McClatchy News Service