Combustible Celluloid
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With: Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, Alfre Woodard, S. Epatha Merkerson, Riley Smith, Debra Winger
Written by: Mike Rich
Directed by: Michael Tollin
MPAA Rating: PG for mild language and thematic elements
Running Time: 109
Date: 10/24/2003

Radio (2003)

2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It's amazing how the lives of two real people can be compacted and condensed to fit precisely into a formula Hollywood movie. Set in the mid-70s, the story concerns the small town football coach Harold Jones (Ed Harris) who takes the mentally challenged 'Radio' Kennedy (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) under his wing and allows him to help out, thereby boosting his self-esteem and building a lifelong friendship. As written by Mike Rich and directed by Michael Tollin, Radio doesn't exactly deliver the train wreck it promises from first glance. Gooding manages to be cute, even if he isn't really convincing, and Harris brings a touch of grace to his character, who could easily have been a redneck type. And the picture effectively creates a time and place. Still, the contrived secondary characters, like the local villain (Chris Mulkey) who hopes to run Radio out of town, and yet another overblown score by James Horner keep it from truly succeeding.

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