Be honest: When you heard that Cuba Gooding Jr. was playing a mentally challenged individual, your initial reaction was to ask what else was new. Actually, this tale of goodwill on the gridiron is more subtle than expected for the first 40 minutes or so, mostly because Gooding's neighborhood-pariah character doesn't have a whole lot to say up until then. But as soon as he becomes a cause célèbre to the kindly high-school football coach (Ed Harris, again exhibiting grace under the pressure of crapola), the movie turns into a cloying tear-jerker of the rankest order. Common sense and good taste go out the window as Gooding hams it up through one nauseating scene of uplift after another. The bitter-irony award goes to Alfre Woodard, as the school principal who frets that the coach and his boys are patronizing the defenseless Radio by treating him as some sort of mascot. You mean just like the movie's doing, Principal Alfre?
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