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Radio (2003)



Average Rating: 5/10
Reviews Counted: 117
Fresh: 42 | Rotten: 75

The story is heavy on syrupy uplift and turns Radio into a saint/cuddly pet.


Average Rating: 4.8/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 25

The story is heavy on syrupy uplift and turns Radio into a saint/cuddly pet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 170,400

My Rating

Movie Info

James Robert Kennedy--nicknamed 'Radio' because of his vintage radio collection and his love of music--is a loner in Anderson, South Carolina, pushing his ever-present grocery cart up and down the streets. He speaks to no one and is rarely spoken to, until one day, Coach Harold Jones, one of the town's most respected men, and coach of the popular high school football team, befriends him. Radio is suspicious at first. But Coach Jones is persistent, even enlisting the help of Radio's mother.




Mike Rich

Jan 27, 2004


Sony Pictures Entertainment - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (125) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (75) | DVD (23)

Based-on- a-true-story kitschfest.

October 28, 2003 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Y]et another movie that takes a mentally challenged character and turns him into this kind of deity, this saint-like mascot who everybody else learns life lessons from.

October 27, 2003 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Gooding once again embarrasses himself in public with a performance that knows no shame, a habit he's getting frighteningly at ease with these days.

October 24, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A train wreck of a film lying inert where the tracks of the Feel Good Line cross the Path of Good Intentions.

October 24, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though probably well-intentioned, Radio comes off as manipulative of its audience and exploitative of the mentally challenged.

October 24, 2003 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Rarely have good intentions been wrapped in such a sticky package.

October 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lesson of kindness permeates inspiring true story.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comment (1)
Common Sense Media

Despite the fine efforts of Harris and Gooding, Jr., Radio nearly drowns in James Horner's overbearingly sentimental music.

September 6, 2007
Christianity Today

Awful from start to finish.

January 11, 2006 Full Review Source: | Comments (2)

The screenwriter seems obsessed with introducing dramatic conflict, which feels both strained and convenient.

April 18, 2004 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Tune in for another formulaic feel-good story that will warm your heart and chill your mind.

February 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

Feigns compassion for the mentally challenged, but treats Radio as a pet, a toy, a prop.

January 15, 2004 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY

As the principal says, "I'm not sure we're trying to help someone here, or whether you're using him as a glorified mascot." Exactly.

November 30, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Snobs
Film Snobs

this puts Cuba back into the Oscar race again, he's charming and wonderful -- although he plays a slow guy, which is surefire Oscar fodder

November 25, 2003 Full Review Source:

This is the first time in 16 years I made additions to a movie review after I read other critics' reviews. I'm doing this not to change my stance, but to defend it.

November 17, 2003 Full Review | Comments (2)
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

Underneath the sugary sweet external coating of Radio is a cynical and pandering piece of hypocrisy.

November 9, 2003 Full Review Source: Mark Reviews Movies
Mark Reviews Movies

Gooding is never allowed to play a three-dimensional character but rather ... human currency to be handed around whenever a character needs his or her consciousness raised.

November 4, 2003
Creative Loafing

Feel-good themes and fine performances from Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Ed Harris make Radio a nice pre-holiday film.

November 4, 2003 Full Review Source:

Like its title character, Radio broadcasts at a low, pleasant frequency.

November 3, 2003 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Harris puts in a believable and focused performance.

October 30, 2003 Full Review
Talking Pictures (U.S.)

In his best role since Jerry Maguire, Cuba Gooding Jr. delivers a mannered performance performance where other actors have opted for tics and exaggerated shouting.

October 30, 2003 Full Review

It's a nice story, and it does feel good, but it's too formulaic and syrupy

October 29, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

If this movie was a tree in Vermont, it'd have a tap driven into it and be sporting a bucket to catch the sap.

October 29, 2003 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A film many people may be tempted to laugh off as button pushing feel-good fluff. Before doing so, they might want to ask themselves just what it is they find so funny about a little peace, love and understanding.

October 28, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Radio features Gooding, Jr. in a performance more akin to Justin Bartha in Gigli than Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.

October 28, 2003 Full Review Source: Premiere Magazine
Premiere Magazine

Unlike most sports movies, it celebrates humanity and avoids clichés.

October 28, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Audience Reviews for Radio

How they took a story that is inherently so moving and turned it into a jumbled, lifeless mess is beyond my comprehension. It's as if they let the real life Radio write and direct the film.
October 10, 2012
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

Radio is yet another in a long list of feel good movies. But I believe that this is the best feel good movie since October Sky. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ed Harris deliver strong performances here. Cuba Gooding Jr. portrays Robert "Radio" Kennedy a young man with mental problems, and Ed Harris portrays Coach Jones, the coach of the local High School who befriends Radio after Jones's team terrorizes him. Radio At first doesn't open up, but after a while he warms up to Coach Jones. However this friendship is hard because of the obvious mental issues that Radio has. Radio is said to be a distraction by many of the parents, and teachers. However Coach Jones ignores this, and defies what some parents say, and he builds a strong friendship with Radio. The film has all the usual feel good traits of a feel good movie, and is the type of film that you can watch with the entire family and enjoy it for what it is. A very moving stoiry, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ed Harris performances are believable enough and the rest of the cast do a good job acting alongside Harris and Gooding Jr. Radio mixes elements of a feel good film with sports drama, and theres nothing here that you can't hate. The film is not perfect of course, I mean it's a film we've seen a hundred times before, but Radio is still a good enough film to provide you with two hours of good family entertainment. Radio is a powerful film about what it truly means to be human, and how some situations can bring out the best out of people. A well done film that is a must see, not the best ever made, but definitely a film to watch and make you feel good.
December 4, 2010
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

This is quite a powerful film.
Cuba Gooding Jr. turns in a brilliant performance as the mentally challenged loner James Robert Kennedy nicknamed "Radio" due to his vintage radio collection in which one is always in his hand playing music he loves, and gives a "score" to his lonely existence of pushing a grocery cart up and down the streets of a South Carolina town.
Ed Harris is brilliant as usual as the town's popular high school football team coach who takes an interest in Radio upon seeing him watching a practice session. His friendship and concern for Radio develops into something that means much more than football to the very well respected coach, Harold Jones.
Jones allows Radio to be part of the team's practices and games on the sidelines, and sit in on his classes in school which opens up a whole new world for James(Radio), and essentially gives him a life that he is in dire need of.
October 14, 2009

Super Reviewer

This movie is based on a true story and that makes it even more amazing. I loved this movie. It was funny, heartwarming, and heartbreaking too. This has to be my favorite movie with Cuba Gooding Jr. He did such an amazing job, his best work yet. This movie gives a lot to learn from. How we should and shouldn't treat others, how to be compassionate for other human beings, and just to help others in their time of need. The coach was inspiring. Great movie and a great story. Definitely touches the heart.
August 30, 2009

Super Reviewer

    1. James Robert "Radio" Kennedy: Where's my pie!?
    – Submitted by Patrick G (3 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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