9 April 2003 | MichaelMovieLoft
Loved it as a kid, but now find it just OK
Back when we were young (the MTV generation), a lot of us looked up to Gary Coleman. We loved Diff'rent Strokes, and everything he did. He was the hottest thing to come down the pipe. He was also in several TV movies to capitalize on his presence. He paired up frequently with Robert Guillaume in these films (who doubled as executive producer in this one). Gary plays a child genius named Nick Newell, who admires Professor Jason Mills, an astronomy professor. The problem is that Mills treats him harshly (like any pompous college professor) and Nick doesn't know how to connect with him. The acting is good, but the story is kind of blah. It mainly serves as an exploitation flick for Coleman, whose charm shines through. But we don't find how how or why he is a child genius. That isn't the point to this film. The point is to milk the Coleman Cash Cow for all it's worth. Along with Guillaume, Gary has a fine supporting cast to work with. Dean Bulter does well as college jock Steve Bensfield, who is roomed with Nick in their freshman year. Kari Michelsen also shines as Julie Gordon, who Nick crushes hard for, but does not realize that she is too old for him. There are a few supporting players that are worth mentioning as well. The late Mel Stewart plays the likable caretaker Joshua Debs, who takes a liking to Nick, is his closest ally on the campus and has known Professor Mills since he was a child. Keep an eye out for Rance Howard, Harrison Page, Crispin Glover, Corinne Bohrer, and Clarence Gilyard Jr. in small roles. If you want to see a better film that features the Coleman/Guillaume pairing, try the 1979 remake of The Kid From Left Field.