Writer-director Allan Moyle’s story about a shy high school student who galvanizes an Arizona suburb with a rebellious pirate radio show has rambunctious energy and defiant attitude.
Christian Slater is first-rate as a bright but alienated student who feels trapped and disconnected in a suburban ‘whitebread land’ where ‘everything is sold out.’ Everything includes his father (Scott Paulin), a former 1960s radical who has bought into the yuppie dream.
Slater’s rebellious late-night broadcasts soon make him a hero and stir up the dormant anger of other alienated kids. But one night his talk-radio antics go out of control.
Moyle resolves things in favor of love and justice, but his ending resolutely refuses to sell out the movie’s angry stance against complacency. Slater handles numerous monolog scenes with conviction and charisma. Newcomer Samantha Mathis (as Nora, who falls in love with Slater’s disembodied voice) and Paulin show a good grasp of their characters.