Critic Reviews



Based on 11 critic reviews provided by
A clever, funny and very skillful thriller about how a kid builds his own atomic bomb. This isn't really a teenage movie at all, it's a thriller. And it's one of those thrillers that stays as close as possible to the everyday lives of convincing people, so that the movie's frightening aspects are convincing.
Believe it or not, The Manhattan Project, a thriller about a high school boy who builds an atomic bomb, is a solid, credible action film. It also contains, during this summer of violent films, a welcome pacifistic message.
This exciting, if conventional, teen thriller effectively makes its points about the dangers of the nuclear age. It features a fine performance from Lithgow as the brilliant yet troubled scientist, and writer-director Marshall Brickman does a nice job of emphasizing human values.
A warm, comedy-laced doomsday story. Using clever one-liners and many humorous situations, Brickman manages successfully to sugarcoat the story’s serious message.
Though the writing gets unforgivably club-fisted and implausible toward the end, The Manhattan Project shows surprising nuance in dealing with Collet and Lithgow, who are both slow to figure out that there are limits to scientific inquiry.
Washington Post
This is a movie about teen-agers that doesn't patronize them, which gives it a realistic, lived-in feel. [13 June 1986, p.D9]
There are some premises that absolutely aren't going to work--no matter how much intelligence, talent or craft the film makers bring to them. And Marshall Brickman may have stumbled onto such a premise in The Manhattan Project.
Mr. Brickman, who directed the film and wrote the screenplay (with Thomas Baum), has a real gift for eccentric comedy and characters. The Manhattan Project, with its vaguely populist leanings, isn't crazy enough. Mr. Brickman fails to make big issues comprehensible. He just makes them small.
Miami Herald
When Collet is interacting with other kids or with his girlfriend and partner-in-crime Jenny (Cynthia Nixon, who played Mozart's maid in Amadeus), The Manhattan Project is a witty, enjoyable teen-age movie. But when, laughs and all, it is addressing the nuclear perils -- timely as the topic might be in the aftermath of Chernobyl -- the project dries up under the spell of sophisticated visual values, glossy props and sexy laser lights. [13 June 1986, p.D3]
Washington Post
A low-key, high-tech, out-of-touch tale of a teen who builds his own personal nuclear projectile for a science project. It's an ambivalent adventure patterned on the likes of WarGames, but without the humor or action. [13 June 1986, p.29]

More Critic Reviews

See all external reviews for The Manhattan Project (1986) »

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Reviews | User Ratings | External Reviews