This should serve as the definitive litmus test for your tolerance of Williams’ manic style. If you can’t take him here, chance are you won’t be able to take him anywhere.
The story makes for a nice match with the comedian’s motormouth sensibility. Williams plays Adrian Cronauer, an Air Force deejay who is transferred to Saigon in 1965. He comes with a reputation as a rock ‘n’ roll funnyman, but at this point the military has no use for rock or jokes. It’s a classic anti-establishment setup, and as long as Good Morning, Vietnam stays on the level of a highbrow National Lampoon movie it works brilliantly. Williams’ astonishing, stream-of-consciousness wit finds a fitting home behind the microphone, where the jokes are spit out so fast you can barely keep up with them. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of serious stuff going on, from a squeezed-in romance to a random subplot involving Vietnamese terrorists. All of this may have legitimized Williams in the eyes of Hollywood – he was nominated for his first Oscar – but director Levinson can’t quite interweave the comedy with the drama.