Picks and Pans Review: Radio

updated 11/03/2003 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/03/2003 01:00AM

Ed Harris, Cuba Gooding Jr.

[STARS 2]

When a white football coach at a South Carolina high school befriends a mentally challenged African-American man in 1976 and encourages him to hang out with the team as an equipment supervisor, the school's principal, who is black herself, asks what's going on. "Is he being used as a glorified mascot?" she queries.

Radio, an inspirational film based on the real-life friendship between Coach Harold Jones (Harris) and James "Radio" Kennedy (Gooding), tries to show that Jones, the team and their small town benefited as much by contact with Kennedy as he did by being embraced. But watching this pokey, saccharine drama, one can't help wondering if the principal wasn't right. Debra Winger plays Jones's wife, a stand-by-your-man role that does little to challenge her. (PG)

DRAMA

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