By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated November 14, 1997 at 05:00 AM EST

Kevin Bacon’s sharply drawn portrayal of a payola-pocketing disc jockey in early-1960s Cleveland is the best thing about this conventional but heartfelt semiautobiographical coming-of-age story written by Joe Eszterhas. Brad Renfro plays the Eszterhas stand-in, an ostracized, Hungarian-born teenager who becomes the DJ’s malleable assistant. Yet the young man is never more than a sketch, and his path to Americanness is far less interesting than his mentor’s crooked road to ruin. C+