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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

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.