2003 - PG - 105 Mins.
|Director: Michael Tollin
|Producer: Herb Gains, Michael Tollin, Todd Garner, Brian Robbins
|Written By: Mike Rich
|Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, Alfre Woodard, Debra Winger, and Riley Smith
|Review by: Joe Rickey
The film Radio, based on a true story, stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ed Harris in a story about a mentally challenged young man and the high school football coach who becomes his mentor and lifelong friend.
Cuba Gooding Jr. has had an up and down film career, to say the least. He won an Academy Award for Jerry Maguire and has since gone on to appear in films such as Boat Trip and Snow Dogs. These films have had many questioning whether it should be possible to take away someone’s Academy Award if they fail to live up to it in the following years. The only problem with this argument is that there would be too many other actors with whom it could apply. Ranging from Whoopi Goldberg to Angelina Jolie, winning an Academy Award has almost become a curse for some actors. Cuba Gooding Jr.’s latest attempt to redeem himself for his past indiscretions is Radio, a film that resembles both Remember the Titans and Forrest Gump in style and structure.
Thankfully, Radio is a giant step in the right direction for Cuba Gooding Jr. The film is a completely heartfelt film of friendship and loyalty between two people that couldn’t be more different than one another.
It features a script that gives the necessary amount of time to developing the personalities of the principle characters and even gives ample time to develop the supporting characters and their personal dilemmas. Not only that, the friendship that develops between the hard-nosed football coach and the disabled young man is portrayed in such a way that it comes across as totally and completely believable. The film accomplishes this relatively difficult feat by setting up situations that in themselves are very easy to believe in. Also, the film is able to craft a finale that is very different than you would expect from a sports-themed film.
All of the above though would be for nothing if the performances were not up to the quality of the written material. They are. Cuba Gooding Jr. gives a heartfelt and vulnerable performance as the young man who goes by the name of Radio. He sidesteps the very real possibility of embarrassing himself if he overplayed the role. He has once again amazed and hopefully, this film will go a long way in restoring his credibility as a top-notch actor. Who knows, this performance may even garner him another Academy Award nomination he simply is that good. Ed Harris also gives an honest and more than respectable performance as the only person willing to give Radio the time of day. He is rapidly becoming the most reliable actor in film today, as he can always be counted on to give a solid performance in whatever role he plays.
The likes of Alfre Woodard and Debra Winger give fine performances as the school principal and Ed Harris’ wife respectively. The other supporting actors also do their part in making the film the success that it is.
Radio is a touching film that features such astounding performances by Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ed Harris that it comes easily recommended.