REAL GENIUS (1985)
Article 5409 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Martha Coolidge
Featuring Val Kilmer, Gabriel Jarret, Michelle Meyrink
What it is: Eccentric teen comedy
A fifteen-year-old science prodigy is accepted at a special university and finds himself working on a super-laser, unaware that the project will be used by the military as a weapon of assassination.
I blew hot and cold on this comedy while I was watching it, largely because the things I didn’t like about were the first things trotted out of the gate; the villains of the piece are such jerks that I found it hard to both believe and endure them, and there’s a certain smugness around the edges of the movie that turns me off. For a while this made me not notice the things I like about the movie; the heroes of the story are a truly eccentric and likable bunch (though in some cases you have to get to know them to appreciate them), some of the jokes are very funny, and the movie generally tries to avoid overt slapstick and gross-out humor. Eventually, the positive aspects of the movie won out, especially since I was deeply amused by the inspired final act of revenge in the movie. This was part of a trio of comedies I tend to link together in my mind, the other two being MY SCIENCE PROJECT and WEIRD SCIENCE. I’ve not seen the latter, but I have seen the former, and this one easily beats it out.