Manhattan Project [1986]

Directed and cowritten by Woody Allen collaborator Marshall Brickman, this comedy-thriller doesn't seem to know where it wants to go or what it wants to say (other than, obviously, nuclear weapons are scary things). Christopher Collet plays an overachieving high school student who decides to show just how dangerously easy it is to construct a nuclear device. He builds one for his science fair, using his mother's relationship with a government official (John Lithgow) to sneak into a secret facility and steal plutonium. When the feds find out what's going on, they overreact in a brutish showdown that threatens nuclear annihilation of everyone within a 10-mile radius. While the movie makes some antinuke points and features a strong performance by Lithgow, it seems a little too breezy, given what's going on. --Marshall Fine

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