A new Disc Jockey is shipped from Crete to Vietnam to bring humor to Armed Forces Radio. He turns the studio on its ear and becomes wildly popular with the troops but runs afoul of the middle management who think he isn't G.I. enough. While he is off the air, he tries to meet Vietnamese especially girls, and begins to have brushes with the real war that never appears on the radio.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Robin Williams does his thing well in this comedy that makes us think. ***1/2 (out of four)
GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM / (1987) ***1/2 (out of four)
By Blake French:
Robin Williams is about as good as they come at doing stand up comedy, and in "Good Morning, Vietnam" director Berry Levinson gives him everything he needs to make the film go above and beyond the average satire. From his outgoing sense of humor, to his aggressive personality, and dozens of vocal effects, he portrays his character with interactive zest. Who can resist the awakening voice of Williams on the radio yelling "Good Morning Vietnam." This is a film that conquers the test of time.
"Good Morning, Vietnam" tells the story of a lively disc jockey who gets a job on Armed Forced Radio during the Vietnam War. Robin Williams is the fast-talking Adrian Cronauer, and who better to play the part than he. Although this character is one-dimensional (we are never informed on his background, marital status, where he comes from, what he did before we meet), as the movie continues he gradually begins to change into a deeper, more meaningful person.
The story moves along smoothly; the narrative through-line is consistent as each scene relates to the next. Although little momentum or suspense can be noticed, the film does have several underlining themes, often viewed upon in a Stanley Kubrick style: sarcastic and uncompromising. We see how much a little humor and jazz can greatly enlighten the hard-core atmosphere of the military during Vietnam, and how it can thoroughly confuse the bleeding heart officials.
The film hangs by the skin of its teeth for active conflict tension. Beyond people objecting to the actions of Williams' character, there is just not a lot of tension within the story, and at some points my interest wandered. "Good Morning, Vietnam" is merely a portrait of Robin Williams releasing his perennial comedy, and unfortunately that does happen to get old quite quickly; the majority of an audience can only watch the humor for so long until it becomes old and somewhat stale.
"Good Morning, Vietnam" is definitely not a flawless film, but we do empathize for the main character, the scenes effectively capture the attitude and mood during the war, and the dialogue and writing feel accurate and involving. Barry Levinson has directed a marvelous comedy, one that is not all about making us laugh, but also makes us think.
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