Real Genius

Film, Comedy

Time Out says

Coolidge's career progressed from personal independent documentaries on rape and drug abuse, through an ill-fated brush with Coppola's Zoetrope, and eventually moved towards the mainstream with the engaging off-kilter teen flick Valley Girl. This, her first Hollywood feature, was co-written by the Police Academy team, and mainly plays like it. Supersmart college boffins Kilmer and Jarret are recruited by teacher Atherton to work on a new laser project, but the kids eventually turn rebellious when they discover the device's covert military implications. It's a change to see young folk are more obsessed with technology than the promptings of the trouser department, but the gizmo-heavy hi-jinks (fun with helium, frozen gas and other science-class materials) do outstay their welcome. It does make you wonder if the drive of the US education system is ultimately to develop better weapons of mass-destruction, though Coolidge's movie is too hazily good-natured to capitalise on the tougher aspects of the material.

By: TJ


Release details

106 mins

Cast and crew

Martha Coolidge
Neal Israel, Pat Proft, Peter Torokvei
Val Kilmer
Gabe Jarret
Michelle Meyrink
William Atherton
Patti D'Arbanville
Robert Prescott
Louis Giambalvo
Jonathan Gries
Ed Lauter
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