Real Genius [1985]

Director: Martha Coolidge
Stars: Val Kilmer, Gabriel Jarret, Michelle Meyrink, William Atherton, Jon Gries
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 108 minutes

An underrated little picture, Real Genius offers a rare college comedy that doesn't rely on gross-out humor--and a look at Val Kilmer before he turned into a star. A high school whiz kid (Gabriel Jarret) arrives at a brainy college, where the crème de la crème of the science students are marshaled under an ambitious professor (expert villain William Atherton). Unbeknownst to them, the kids are working on a weapons system that the prof plans on selling to the government. The star student, and chief rabble-rouser, is played by Kilmer, in good early form as a cocky genius who hasn't lost touch with his goofy side. The director is Martha Coolidge, whose Valley Girl was one of the brightest (and most unexpected) of '80s comedies; she keeps the movie perking along and never worries about dumbing down a film that just happens to be about smart people. --Robert Horton

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