Robert Prescott

lazlo

Growing up with Real Genius, I’ve mistaken it for a guilty pleasure. The college comedy, which opened in theaters 28 years ago today, was easily lumped in with a number of other nerdy teen movies of the era, including WarGames and Weird Science, the latter of which opened just five days before this and went on to make more money and reign as the better known of the sci-fi oriented pair. And Real Genius is really silly, with its penis enlargement jokes and goofy pranks. It always felt like, as it sort of is, a PG-rated knockoff of the previous year’s Revenge of the Nerds. Little did I know then that it received a good deal of positive reviews, including a 3 1/2-star rave from Roger Ebert. Never mind what the critics thought, though. While it’s always hard to objectively re-examine a beloved movie from your youth (don’t dare tell me Maximum Overdrive isn’t a good film!), there’s at least some proof that Real Genius was intelligently produced and meant to be different from the pack it seems to run with. It also has a more interesting legacy than it’s given credit for.

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