Radio

"OK"

Radio Review


"Radio" is the kind of "based on a true story," pandering feel-good movie in which nobody ever says what's on his or her mind without turning it into a momentous anecdote, and the fictional characters contrived solely for plot conflict stand out like circus clowns at a funeral.

You know the characters I mean -- the star-jock bully who picks on the hero and (gasp!) gets benched for it, the jock's callous father who subsequently reviles the coach for not sharing his twin philosophies of "boys will be boys" and "winning is everything."

There are literally scores of such clichés in this predictable story of a mentally challenged young man (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) in small-town South Carolina circa 1976, who was taken under the wing of a high school football coach (Ed Harris) and grew into a valuable member of the sideline crew and a local celebrity. But while the movie isn't all that bad in spite of this triteness, it certainly is bland. The lazy screenwriting mentality that produces such characters just isn't capable of originality or imagination.

As a result, the film hangs on the acting ability of Gooding, who rises to the occasion for the first time in years. Starring as James "Radio" Kennedy -- who in real life has worked his way up to assistant coach for the Hanna Yellow Jackets since becoming the team's ball boy almost 30 years ago -- Gooding convincingly affects his shy, snaggle-toothed character's "Rain Man"-like mannerisms with a dignity and deference that lends itself to affable empathy.

But while director Mike Tollin ("Summer Catch") does manage to tug a few true heartstrings with the genuinely human performances of Gooding and the well-cast Harris, the movie's plot development is so foreseeable that even overly florid composer James Horner ("The Perfect Storm," "A Beautiful Mind") seems to be always jumping the gun. His saturating score moves into full emotional swing long before the coach gets a neglectful-father scolding from his wife ("Can't you make room for both your daughter and those boys?") and before each of the inevitable, well-meaning blunders and tragedies that raise doubts in the community about Radio's fitness for working with high school kids.

By the time the line "We're not the ones been teachin' Radio, he's been teachin' us" rolls around, "Radio" has become so sodden with sticky sentimental syrup it's a wonder the film can make it through the projector without gumming up the works.

If you've ever wondered how much difference a director can make, see "Radio" then rent "The Rookie," last year's heart-warming but sap-free, genuinely inspired and cinematically impeccable true-sports-miracle movie about a 40-something major league recruit. Both films were written by the schmaltzy Mike Rich ("Finding Forrester"), but "Rookie" helmer John Lee Hancock handled his film with unpretentious honesty and aplomb to which Tollin doesn't even bother to aspire.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th October 2003

Box Office USA: $52.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $52.3M

Budget: $32M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Entertainment

Production compaines: Revolution Studios, Columbia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 36%
Fresh: 42 Rotten: 75

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr. as Radio, as Coach Jones, as Principle Daniels, S. Epatha Merkerson as Maggie, as Linda, as Frank

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.