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Real Genius (1985)



Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 34,410

My Rating

Movie Info

Martha Coolidge directed this comedy taking place at fictional Pacific Tech, concerning incoming freshman Mitch (Gabe Jarret), a high school student whose Science Fair project made important inroads into laser beam technology. Mitch has been recruited by famed physics professor Hathaway (William Atherton), who asks Mitch to work in his laboratory. On campus, Mitch becomes roommates with the brilliant Chris Knight (Val Kilmer), legendary as the smartest freshman in the history of the college; but



Neal Israel, Pat Proft, Peter Torokvei

Jun 11, 2002

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Watch It Now


Latest News on Real Genius

September 18, 2014:
Channing Tatum Is Struck by Genius
He'll produce an adaptation of the Jason Padgett novel about the incredible real-life aftermath of a...
February 1, 2011:
Val Kilmer Reunites with Real Genius Co-Star for Deep in the Heart
Val Kilmer will reunite with his "Real Genius" co-star Jon Gries (a.k.a. Lazlo Hollyfeld) for the...


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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (6) | DVD (16)

The humor is relentlessly cruel, smug, and disconnected from any sense of how human beings might behave in similar situations.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What lifts the production above the run-of-the-mill is swift direction by Martha Coolidge, who has a firm grasp over the manic material.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It does make you wonder if the drive of the US education system is ultimately to develop better weapons of mass-destruction, though Coolidge's movie is too hazily good-natured to capitalise on the tougher aspects of the material.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What the film needs, instead of these familiar teen-movie trappings, is a cleverness and eccentricity to match that of its characters. For the most part, these are qualities that it lacks.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Real Genius contains many pleasures, but one of the best is its conviction that the American campus contains life as we know it.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This disappointing teen comedy from director Martha Coolidge is another entry in the rash of teens-goofing-with-science films.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The movie gets stuck as a run-of-the-mill teen revenge comedy.

May 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

great fun and full of 1980s relics, from the now-antiquated computers to the box of Donkey Kong cereal to a finale set to Tears for Fears...

October 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

goofy and very funny

April 18, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

Young Kilmer in no-brainer comedy

October 19, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Supreme guilty pleasure

December 18, 2003
Beach Reporter (Southern California)

See it. If you have seen it, see it again. It's a moral imperative.

October 14, 2002 | Comment (1)

A guilty pleasure....ooodles of fun

September 17, 2002

Pure '80s genius.

August 7, 2002
New Times

Like Risky Business, this not only rose above the 1980s teen comedy genre, but stuck it to the Reagan administration as well.

July 26, 2002
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

This picture remains blissfully aloft, borne by engaging actors and a warm heart.

July 12, 2002 Full Review Source: PopMatters

Everyone plays their part in making this a very funny movie.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Real Genius

REAL GENIUS is a ridiculous, barely funny "teen flick" wannabe that makes John Hughes toss in his grave. If you want a real funny, real genius teen comedy that has the true comical power of Hughes (R.I.P), watch WEIRD SCIENCE. It's better delight.
September 27, 2011

Super Reviewer

This is one of those movies that I wake up one morning and just want to watch, an old faithful if you will. Val Kilmer gives one of his best performances, whether he wants to admit it or not, as Chris Knight, a once was child prodigy who has all the social graces of a man who really does know too much. Hilarious and heartfelt, if this film is not on your shelf at home I suggest it gets there soon!
January 20, 2011
Unknown Hobo

Super Reviewer

A funny movies about nerds, I like it better than Revenge of the Nerds, except that it has Kilmer, who's not that good an actor, but overall, it's a funny movie and I enjoyed it.
January 19, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Maj. Carnagle: Where's the laser?
    2. Prof. Hathaway: It's coming.
    3. Maj. Carnagle: Coming? Ha! It's not even breathing hard.
    – Submitted by Jeremy T (10 months ago)
    1. Chris Knight: 'This is under H for toy.'
    2. Chris Knight: This? This is Ice, this is what happens when water gets too cold; This, this is Kent, this is what happens when one gets too sexually frustrated.
    – Submitted by Ryan A (2 years ago)
    1. Chris Knight: Self-Realization Mitch. In the immortal words of our beloved Socrates when he said, 'I drank what?'
    – Submitted by Ryan A (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Foreign Titles

  • Real Genius (DE)
  • Real Genius (UK)
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