The Manhattan Project (1986) Poster

User Reviews

Add a Review
42 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
1/10
Wow, this one is amazingly bad
bvallely16 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
We are asked to respect a high school kid(Paul Stephens who builds a nuclear bomb, and admire how he lightheartedly carts said device in a science fair, endangering the lives of literally tens of thousands people. If this "comedy" had been a wacky, Marx Brothers/Airport type farce, that wouldn't have bothered me in the slightest. But is "comedy" (which doesn't contain a single laugh)insists that we admire the arrogant little creep. I kept wishing that Jack Bauer would come in and shove a knife in Paul's kneecap.

Marshal Brickman never directed a feature film after this, and I can't wonder why.
34 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Those darn warmongering govies....
Mentat32720 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
So let me get this straight. This teenager wants to expose this secret government laboratory... by building an atomic bomb with material he steals from the facility and taking it to a science fair. And he wants to expose this facility because... they didn't tell anyone they were a secret plutonium facility and thereby make themselves a target for espionage and theft?

So, as I said, his solution to the "warmongering" military authorities building atomic bombs is to build one himself. (And they're warmongering because they want to build atomic bombs because hostile countries with a doctrine of overthrowing countries to spread their political beliefs would do the same to the US if they could because they also have atomic bombs, right?) Then when the government officials learn that this kid has stolen weapons grade material and has built a bomb with it, they have to gall to take over his mom's house while she cries "What gives you the right?!"

Then, and get this, then, when he learns the government has found out he has stolen weapons grade material and built a bomb with it, and he threatens to set it off for no other logical reason anyone can think of other than not wanting to get thrown in jail for something HE did, everyone acts surprised when the government acts ready to kill him to stop him and everyone thinks that's just a terrible thing. No, wait, they want to kill him not just to stop him, but also to keep the facility a secret.... after a whole bunch of people already know what's going on.

And when the bomb almost goes off because this genius kid was too stupid to know what he was doing, he gets to walk away as a local hero because he built a bomb with weapons grade material that he stole from the facility and almost wiped out his friends, family, everyone in the town and surrounding areas including the mean government officials who were ready to kill him because he threatened to set off an atomic bomb with material he stole from the facility.

Riiiiigggghhhhhhtttt.........
60 out of 85 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Not bad, but...
Sledgeh10116 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I remember watching this movie in the 80s, and thinking it was a good film. There was, however, one major problem that I had with the film - the fact that the main protagonist seems to be a dummy when it comes to anything other than science. Forgetting about the fact that Paul, one of the main characters, essentially exposed a bunch of people to high- grade plutonium (no mention about any medical crisis for all the people around Paul after the happy ending), the kicker comes when he's finally confronted in a hotel in New York by John Lithgow and a bevy of military men who would like nothing more than to lock him away for a long time. Paul's nonchalance comes out in the exchange, "They can't do anything to me." "Why not?" "Because I'm underage."

HUH? You're smart enough to build a freaking nuclear bomb by yourself, including smart enough to know where to get some explosive material needed to blow the bomb up. You're also smart enough to have fooled a high-security system with a bunch of frisbees and a helpful girlfriend in order to get the plutonium (and smart enough to temporarily cover your tracks by inserting shampoo into the jar so it's not immediately noticed as missing). But what in the world makes you think that they'll let you go because "I'm underage?"

I suppose the script writer needed to show a little naiveté - after all, if Paul knew the full gravity of what he was doing, he might not have done something as reckless as he did. Instead, he might just have gone ahead with an expose without needing to win first prize at a science contest.
16 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Not even funny...
illegal_alien517 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I don't even wanna talk about it, I just wanna cut it down and leave it for dead. Or with other words, don't watch it unless you wanna make fun of it later! It's a half lame movie for little kids who haven't had a physics class yet and who's parents are willing to explain that something like that is never possible in real life. Here are some examples why (to get you started)

  • The material being so highly concentrated I would imagine when he opens the hatch to get the jar out he'd immediately lose consciousness and die within minutes. No yellow rubber gloves are gonna protect him from the radiation.


  • It looks like he's going for an implosion design with his bomb (like the Nagasaki bomb). That's really "smart". Especially since the gun design (Hiroshima bomb) is far easier to build, but maybe he is aware that the implosion design will have a far greater efficiency so he can incinerate far more people with it, if that's what he wants? (That's where another thought occurs: Why is he complaining about the morality of the lab when he builds a bomb of his own?)


  • Then there is more unprotected working with the material. Even if the material was only slightly radioactive for some reason, his nice fluffy hair would have fallen out halfway through building his device. At the least we would have seen lots of vomiting!


To sum it up, tired of writing this as I am, it's just all horrible anyway! I can't understand why a movie with that name couldn't have been a bit more interesting, realistic and possibly talk about the real Manhattan Project instead!
27 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
2/10
A bomb all right
moviemaster18 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I was subjected to this utter nonsense at a friend's house. I won't go into why. At first I thought it "wasn't bad." But as the "plot" continued, I thought someone must have spiked the punch and I was high on LSD. This is one of the silliest movies ever made. There are so many stupid ideas one has to wonder if it was designed to make fun of movies as a whole. The "brilliant" kid wants to build a bomb to expose the lab for making plutonium? Hey, pick up the phone and make a call. He thinks that he can't get into any trouble because "I'm only a kid." Who told him that? For a bright boy, he doesn't seem like it. He breaks into the lab and steals plutonium... that ought to be worth 20 to life right there. He's Edward Teller in disguise and builds an A bomb with his Mattel Do it yourself kit. Yeah... sure. Best of all, he handles the plutonium with his mom's dish washing rubber gloves?!!! He'd be dead in no time. He takes his bomb to the big fair to show off? To show off what? That he's a complete nincompoop? Even the other nerds know better than that. If I hadn't been waiting for another friend in order to leave, I would have exited this complete nonsense as soon as he started playing cutesy with the plutonium strapped to the back of his toy car. This was really, really bad. 1 star for Lithgow desperately seeking a plot. 1 Star for Nixon trying ever so hard not to break out in uproarious laughter while Collet tries to explain why he wants to make a bomb.
19 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
Entertaining enough....BUT....
yddsp@aol.com12 December 2007
This film is entertaining enough, in fact it is quite exciting. However, in a real-life scenario, the end result would not and could not have had such a clichéd "Hollywood ending", so in that respect it sort of resembles a "fractured fairytale". The storyline is credible enough with a bit of imagination stretching, the acting is tolerable, only the irony is laid on a bit too thick. I found the attitude of the principal character to be much too cynical, unrealistic and extremely condescending, even for the likes of some precocious, science-savvy prodigy. Getting back to the entertainment value, the plot progresses expectedly only it thickens toward the direction of the surrealistic, though the basic concept is actually pretty frightening. However, the movie is watchable with its impressive cast; a young Cynthia Nixon, John Lithgow, Chris Collet et al. I have mixed feelings about this film, I did enjoy watching it, but when I began to rationalize it began to appear quite nonsensical. So, if you intend on watching it, simply keep your powers of logic and common sense subdued and it will remain an enjoyable experience.
17 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
If you like clich'e you'll love this movie
nibble-115 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
A boy genius builds an atomic bomb with plutonium he steals from his mother's would-be boyfriend. A barely plausible premise but what the heck it's a movie. I can only imagine the producers and actors all anticipating the acclaim that they hope to achieve with this ripoff of 'War Games'. 'War Games' featuring Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy was clever, hip, interesting, funny at times and believable: everything that this movie is not. The first scare is John Lithgow as a love interest with Jill Eikenberry. He is not likely to set feminine hearts aflutter and Jill looks great except that her hair looks like it lost a battle with a wombat. As to the cliché's (forgive me if I leave out a few dozen, as there are so many): 1) The kid opens everything with a handy nail file from his nail clipper that he always happens to have in his pocket. He even opens pin-tumbler locks which I assure you are not amenable to nail files. 2) He breaks into the lab to steal the plutonium, swaps it with a bottle of shampoo, then packs everything back into his gym bag, EXCEPT the plutonium which he tapes to the back of a remote control car. You see if he just put the plutonium in his gym bag with all the other stuff (including the huge remote controller for the car) there would be no reason to fire up the enormous Argon-Ion LASER BEAM which he uses to cut a hole in the building to smuggle out the plutonium. And of course the cutsey part where the dodering old fool of a security guard would have no reason to stumble around in dark with flashlight looking for god knows whatever while the kid zooms the car around. Duh! 3) Lithgow brings the kid a puzzle where you are supposed to get four balls in each corner, the kid sets it down and spins it. Eureka problems solved! Only you can see that coming a mile away. And the grand prize cliché is at the end, when they all must clip the six detonator wires SIMULTANIOUSLY! GASP! to prevent the impending nuclear explosion. Except that they only have (I bet you know already) FIVE wire cutters! But guess what? The kid whips out his handy-dandy nail clipper to save the day! TA-DA! Whoooo Maybe I'm being harsh and taking advantage of twenty years of hindsight, after all lasers now fit on key chains instead of taking up entire rooms, but seriously the technical direction in this movie is awful. Despite all that it is entertaining and if you have the opportunity watch it. And while you watch take a good look at all the actors that you will never see again after contributing to this bomb.
12 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
Can't suspend that much disbelief
Peter (fineanimal)18 August 2002
If the beauty of film is that it encourages us to briefly suspend our disbelief and enjoy experiencing a different world, The Manhattan Project simply demands too much suspension of disbelief to make this possible.

Almost every plot point in The Manhattan Project is an absolute impossibility in real life, even though the dramatic power of this film ostensibly derives from the notion that something remotely like this could really happen. From nuclear radiation triggering detectors without hurting people, to a single rent-a-cop defending an entire nuclear weapons lab, to one teenager doing in a month what took Oppenheimer and company years, to the U.S. military letting national security breaches walk away into the sunset, there is just no way to focus on the story when faced with so many intellectual insults.

On the bright side, the science in the movie is presented well and seems fairly accurate, so it does seem like the filmmakers at least tried to make something special out of an insufficient screenplay. The Manhattan Project is not a terrible movie, but it does suffer from too many inexcusable lapses to be called good. Just like the most realistic character in the movie, this film is a bomb.
19 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
2/10
Idiotic example of 1980's "smart kids" movie...
innocuous9 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I beg to disagree with some of the reviewers who believe that this film is some sort of deep commentary on the Cold War mentality of the 60's and 70's, coupled with sharp insight into the madness of the nuclear arms race.

This is a simple-minded "WarGames" wannabe, with totally unsympathetic characters (including the stereotypical idiot adults who can barely tie their shoelaces) engaging in wildly improbable/impossible activities.

This is an excellent example of why snot-nosed, self-righteous kids are not allowed to vote.

Minor Spoiler: "Hey, my self-gratification and desire to win the science fair surely trumps any concern for public safety or property rights. Plus, I get to feel like some sort of public-policy activist while I'm doing it!"

Yet, all of this might be forgivable, if the movie was any good. But it's not. Save your time and money.
17 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
Can nuclear weapons be funny?
n_r_koch7 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Anti-Gravity Belts and Shrinking Rays are okay...unless you are making grandiose references to Oppenheimer and portentious speeches about real nuclear weapons on real planets where they can be made only with two really toxic materials. But even if plutonium could really be stored in sports bottles in a transparent case in a room with where a guy plays with lasers, one can't help but wonder: Why did the boy genius walk out of the lab but then drive the plutonium out of it in a remote-controlled car after cutting a hole in the building with the laser? Didn't anyone notice the hole he left in the building, the fence, and in the line of trees beyond the fence? Would all the world's super-pure plutonium be guarded by an old coot who appears to be legally blind and a thick besides? Why does Cynthia Nixon ask all their friends to drive to where a nuclear bomb is? Why does Paul need a written statement about the pure plutonium lab if he has the pure plutonium himself? Why does Paul's Mom forget to shampoo? Oh, that one actually does get answered.

There are too many howlers to believe in this thing. It came from the same guy who wrote SLEEPER, in which the nonsense science was part of the comedy. WAR GAMES is more plausible but it ends with the same silly speeches. Of course if you ever do rid the world of nuclear weapons you merely make the first new weapon all the more valuable. Oh, well. Maybe a comedy about plutonium is a job no writer can manage.
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
This review gives praise to an overlooked but deserving film.
linguistHP11 March 2001
THE MANHATTAN PROJECT is a seriously underrated film. It's categorized and advertised as a "comedy," but in fact it's more accurately categorized as a dramatic thriller with light elements. The problem is that anyone expecting to see a comedy will be disappointed because the film is not as funny as a "comedy" needs to be. That, I believe, is why it was not as popular at the box office as it deserved to be. However, the film is an extremely smart dramatic thriller, and anyone screening it with that expectation -- and knowing its main characters are extremely bright high school kids -- will not be disappointed. THE MANHATTAN PROJECT is not a perfect film, but it is an excellent one.
30 out of 52 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
What Did I Just Watch?
Samuel-Shovel25 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I have no idea who greenlit this movie. It is completely absurd. The plot makes 0 sense, the science is a farce, the acting is atrocious!

Why did they decide to steal this uranium? Why is this atomic bomb factory guarded by one security guard who makes Paul Blart look like a Navy Seal? Why does he let random cars through the gate? Why did the missing uranium go unnoticed for so long? Why did he decide to make an atomic bomb? For a science fair project, sure, that's valid. Why did the government send 5 spooks to go retrieve this bomb instead of an entire platoon? Why did those other nerds aide and abed in this crime for these 2 kids they met for about 30 seconds? Why isn't Paul's body riddled with cancer due to his unsafe exposure to nuclear materials? In the final scene, why is there 8 people with guns instead of 200? Why does everyone get to walk away heroes at the end instead of being put in GitMo? There's dozens of more plot holes but I'm not even going to waste any more time.

I gave the movie 2 extra stars for having John Lithgow and Richard Jenkins. Not a recommend...
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
Impractical, but a good story
crash212 September 2002
I don't understand why this movie is so lowly rated. The movie has a really good plot, and I really like how there is even a little comedy combined with the movie's serious plot. First with the son's steal and building of the nuclear device. I wonder if the more comical moments had come from John Lithgow's roll in all of this. I especially like his jokes about the government works.

"They're gorillas, they can hurt you. If you try to talk it out with them, they'll lock you in a room somewhere and throw away the room."

"What did you want us to do, put up a neon sign saying 'secret weapons laboratory'?"

The Science Fair moments in the movie were also quite entertaining. Especially where they introduce themselves to the science fair kids, then when they get out with the same kids pulling them out of the room and resoling them out away from the government's agents.

The movie itself is somewhat unbelievable, but it's interesting and entertaining.
23 out of 41 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Pretentious Preachy Unwatchable
jskao22 May 2003
Terrible waste of celluloid and John Lithgow's talent. Whinny arrogant self centered punk builds bomb to prove his own genius without considering monumental stupidity of act, then arms the bomb to get himself out of the jam he's put himself in, holding 10's of thousands of lives hostage, including his "loved" ones. Eventually, the situation is happily resovled, where he shows no remorse, and smuggly grins and quips at his own cleverness till the end credits.

Christopher Collet's character is totally unlikable, see him in First Born... same annoying attitude. Also about a kid who is incestuously fixated on his mother's relationship with her boyfriend.
32 out of 61 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Hubris
Robert J. Maxwell14 March 2002
There are some things man was never meant to know. Or at least high school kids. The story is interesting in its concept: smart kid builds nuclear device and is barely saved from blowing everyone to smithereens. (Vide: "War Games".) Its execution however makes one squirm with discomfort rather than suspense. First, the acting isn't bad. John Lithgow is especially effective in his scenes with Jill Eikenberry -- a genuinely nice guy just trying to get along. The rest of the performances are adequate. But the character played by Christopher Collett is truly abrasive.

His scientific intellect is honed to a razor edge, as we find out near the beginning when he arranges a small explosion in the lab drawer of a fellow student who is his rival in science class. Hilarious. His smugness is almost unbearable. And science is about all he's good at. He realizes that Lithgow is "hitting on my mom" (innocently enough) and resents him for it. He doesn't seem to know what an Oedipus complex is. He hasn't heard of Woodward and Bernstein. He asks, "Who's Anne Frank?", and isn't being rhetorical.

Worst of all, he doesn't really care about his non-scientific ignorance. He's only a few steps removed from the maniac in "Pi." The plot is simply unbelievable. He may be extremely clever but unless he has some sort of PSI power as well, he could not disarm the alarm system in two shakes of a lamb's tail -- let alone unfailingly operate the complex robotic systems in the laboratory. And without so much as a previous glance at it, he knows that the inner wall of the lab can be cut with a pen knife, and he knows just where to cut it too. He may be superhuman as well.

Radioactive plutonium is still radioactive, even without having reached critical mass, isn't it? And although rubber gloves may stop larger particles like protons, they don't provide much protection against gamma rays, do they? I may be wrong, but at least I'm willing to admit my ignorance, which is more than this egocentric showoff is able to do.

The first time I saw this movie it was fascinating, especially the first half, not the last part, which deteriorates into a familiar pattern. But I saw it again recently and found it more irritating than anything else, because of Collett's character and because the plot was so full of holes. At least I HOPE it was full of holes. If it were so easy to throw together a nuclear weapon occupying a space the size of a trombone case, and to do so in only a few weeks, I'd hate to think of what might happen if some religious fundamentalist antimodernization Ludditic cryptolunatic saw the movie and it gave him ideas.

The ending is a heart-warming development in which Lithgow, decides the fight the military and declares, "No more secrets", and throw open the gates to the college kids cheering outside. Right.
13 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
4/10
In which annoying 80s kid gets into avoidable trouble
Tango and Cash24 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
In a word: annoying!

For the first 45 minutes or so I kept asking myself, "Why? What does he get out of this?" A stupid science experiment and a "story" for the girl he likes. Thing is - neither of those things happen! The girl, sensibly, ends up saying "Uh, this is a bad idea." And he never even gets to do the science experiment thing, or whatever that was.

Stupid movie. Another case of some douche being annoying in a typical 80s kind of way.

John Lithgow is in it, he was OK. A young, cute, heterosexual Cynthia Nixon is in it. The dad from Frasier is in it, I don't even know his name or care what it is.

A movie for an afternoon nap. Hopefully you fall asleep quickly so you don't have to see too much of it.

4/10
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
oddly fascinating
wappfalls58 March 2002
I don't know why, but this movie has a strange fascination that makes me want to watch it. Not a great movie, but passable. But as far as Before They Were Stars, someone needs to realize that the highpoint of John Lithgow's career is NOT a stupid TV show about aliens. He was a big star WELL before this movie came out. He had two Oscar nominations and won an Emmy. Meanwhile, the other two known stars in this movie, John Mahoney and Cynthia Nixon were also quite well known before their TV roles, each with over 10 movies under their belts by 1986.
15 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
2/10
idiotic '80s flotsam
Michael Neumann4 December 2010
Here's a textbook example of all the post-'ET' rip-offs pitting bright teenagers against bad grown-ups, in this case packaged like an updated manual of mid-1980s commercial movie-making clichés. It's all here: the playful young smart-aleck prodigy (with attractive single mother and sexually active girlfriend); the wicked agents of federal bureaucracy; the solitary, sympathetic adult (as usual, a scientist); lots of distracting high-tech hardware; and a topical message. In more talented hands all these familiar ingredients might at least have been assembled with some style, but the comedy (?) plot (about the whiz-kid and his home built nuclear device) includes more lapses in logic, more contrived cleverness, and more implausible plot twists than even a teenage fantasy of this sort can support. Rule of thumb: never trust a movie that assumes its audience is less intelligent than the characters on screen.
12 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Plutonium Grade Movie
Falcon-5124 February 2000
Two important names in this film one is mega star John Lithgow & little known Christopher Collet. Both do a great job in a film that really is a thrill ride. John Lithgow has been in numerous films most of them big time films. Christopher Collet has been in about 10 films but this one being the most notable. Even by todays higher movie standards the film is still very watchable. It really is worth a look. The story is about a whiz kid that decides to build a nuclear weapon to win a New York science fair. He uses some very clever tactics to get some of the purest but most dangerous plutonium ever created. What happens when your walking around with a bomb capable of killing millions of people, well for one thing, everyone wants to stop you. So check out a fun weekend afternoon movie that is family friendly.
14 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Totally unlikable protagonist, waste of time, go rent Wargames!
fishboy26628 August 2003
Tedious, preachy movie with bratty, smug, arrogant protagonist... you're hoping, hoping, hoping that he gets killed! Only John Lithgow is any good, but they give him a lame, self-righteous and overly long speech at the end... don't waste your time... go rent Wargames! A much better and smarter anti-war film!
17 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
You got to be kidding !
Ron-18118 August 2000
Strictly targeted for the teenage market, this bomb reinforces illegal and unacceptable behavior in an off handed way. A fine cast is wasted on a story best left untold. If the writers ever had any message to convey it is lost in this unreal movie of improbables. The writers would have you believe that a high school student constructs a 50 meg-a-ton atomic bomb in a relatively short period of time with little or no facilities at his disposal. Then after being seconds away from destroying Ithaca, New York and its population, he becomes the hero of his peers. If you ever wondered how Columbine High could happened, take a look at this farce. John Lithgow, a fine actor in his own right, deserves better.
12 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
Manhattan Project-Bombed Away-Science & Movies Don't Mix **
edwagreen10 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Absurd film. This is exactly what you get when Hollywood tries to go scientific-in this case nuclear physics.

A young lad, a prankster with a brain, together with his girlfriend steal plutonium from the lab. His mother has become friendly with scientist John Lithgow.

With the nuclear material, our young lad has made a small bomb. The FBI and other federal agents are after our young hero. They point rifles to his chest.

The best part of this ridiculous film was how the dynamic duo were able to pull off their caper.

Then of course, we must have the deactivating of the bomb, and how that's done before the deadline and mom and the girlfriend rushing up to our hero at film's end. Let's go beyond this and pursue how this recalcitrant should have been tried for stealing this material and placing the northeast in such jeopardy.

The film is a miserable one. It made me think of my miserable chemistry teacher and how she tortured me. The film tortured me as well.
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
5/10
Had more holes than the Titanic
helpless_dancer3 February 2000
Totally unbelievable story about a pair of kids who penetrate a highly classified, super secret government bomb making lab. There were so many flaws in this thing that I never could get interested in it. The dialogue, which was supposed to be tense, was just corny beyond belief. No drama either, I don't know, maybe it was a comedy, eh? Loser film.
7 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Oh! Those young men and their darling little nukes. (spoilers)
Pepper Anne27 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
The Manhattan Project, I suppose, is an anti-nukes themed comedy/drama. Christopher Collet (some might remember him from Firstborn, Sleepaway Camp Part I, and Prayer of the Rollerboys), stars as teen Paul Stevens, who discovers a clandestine nuke plant in his upstate New York neighborhood. I suppose, in the interest of showing the real dangers and instabilities of nuke-powered weapons, Paul gets the awful idea to build his own atom bomb for his science project. (I think, too, that this story may be a reference to the court case a few decades ago in which a kid built a bomb and when they sued him, his defense was that he got all of the information from publicly availalbe materials--just like Paul does in this movie). Only problem is, somehow, the timer on the bomb accidentally gets initiated, and Paul, along with the help of the high-level nuke plant worker (John Lithgow) and some military bomb experts, has to try to keep the damn thing from detonating. Actually, less of the movie is about these panicky moments when you wonder whether or not the bomb will actually go off. Instead, most of the movie focuses Paul putting the contraption together. Certainly not too realistic (I don't what kind of explosive the kid in the court case had built), and in fact, you'd probably curse Paul throughout the movie for being so damn stupid playing around with junk like that.

It is a good nostalgia trip, however, for those who adore a rare selection of 80s movies. Pop it in some lazy afternoon and enjoy.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
WarGames without the charm
SnoopyStyle7 August 2014
Scientist John Mathewson (John Lithgow) has improve the purity of plutonium. The military sends him to Ithaca to perfect the process. He likes his real estate agent Elizabeth Stephens (Jill Eikenberry) and tries to befriend her son Paul (Christopher Collet) by showing him around the lab. Paul is a smart inventive teenager who decides to steal some plutonium and make a nuclear bomb for his science fair project. Jenny Anderman (Cynthia Nixon) is the girl and the friend.

This has a bit of WarGames but the lead kid doesn't have the charm of Matthew Broderick. Of course who has the charm of Ferris Bueller. The lead is a teen brat stereotype without the funny sensibility. It spends too much time with montages and slow action. It also makes the mistake of concentrating a bit too much time on the adults. John Lithgow is such a great star that this mistake is understandable. As in many of these 80s caper movies, there is a lot of unreal unbelievability but one must accept such things. The movie struggles mostly with the pompous teen. He is a spoiled teen without any of the comedy. However it is fun to imagine a teen building a nuclear bomb, and defusing the bomb in the end is kinda exciting.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

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