Good Morning, Vietnam

Loosely based on the experiences of real-life disc jockey Adrian Cronauer, this 1987 Barry Levinson comedy-drama stars Robin Williams as the Armed Forces Radio announcer sent to Saigon to boost morale among the troops. Well meaning and fitfully entertaining, the movie turns some of its best ideas into mush by making its villains (square, intolerant officers) too easy targets, and by nudging us constantly about Cronauer’s brilliance with cutaways to ecstatic listening soldiers. Williams does get off a few snazzy effectssuch as imitating the sounds of a record playing too slow, too fast, and backwardbut the sort of good-guy 50s liberalism that this movie seems so proud of registers too often as self-congratulation. Chintara Sukapatana, a leading Thai actress who plays a young Vietnamese woman Cronauer is interested in, is exceptionally beautiful, and Forest Whitaker is likable in a somewhat drippy part as the hero’s loyal sidekick, but Mitch Markowitz’s script doesn’t even begin to chew the material it bites off. (JR)

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