8 February 2015 | Hey_Sweden
"When you're cool, the sun shine on you 24 hours a day."
High school student Michael Harlan (John Stockwell) is a kid with a fairly narrow focus: he's a car junkie. His girl dumps him because she thinks he spends more time tinkering with cars than with her. To get his science teacher Bob Roberts (Dennis Hopper) off his back, Mike scours a local military junkyard for any piece of junk that he can pass off as a science project. Well, the item that he steals is no ordinary junk: it was discovered back in the 1950s and is apparently an alien device that can create time-space warps. When Mike, his buddy Vince (Fisher Stevens), and Bob start messing around with the thing, an immense amount of havoc ensues as the high school is inundated with characters and animals from the past and a possible future.
Debuting director Jonathan R. Betuel, who'd written "The Last Starfighter", does alright with this first feature. It doesn't display *that* much imagination (we get cavemen, mutants, and a dinosaur, but not that much more), but it does have some good energy. Nicely shot in 2.35:1, it gets off to a solid start, and the characters are amusing to watch. Stockwell is likable in his first top billed role (after playing the best friend to car junkie Keith Gordon in "Christine"), and Danielle von Zerneck is appealing as his leading lady. Stevens, and Raphael Sbarge as the nerdy Sherman, are very much playing stereotypes, but they do give the roles 100%. The adult actors are largely wasted - Barry Corbin as Mikes' dad, Ann Wedgeworth as the dads' new wife, Richard Masur (who gets to be broader than usual) as a detective. The true standout performance in "My Science Project" comes from Hopper, who's perfectly cast as the former hippie who's all too happy to relive his protest filled youth. Robert DoQui, Michael Berryman, Pamela Springsteen, and an uncredited Al Leong all have small roles.
The music by Peter Bernstein is appropriate, the visual effects are well done overall (especially that dinosaur, the work of Doug Beswicks' team), and there are some funny lines here and there. All in all, the movie is juvenile, silly, and ridiculous, but it does do a respectable job of entertaining its audience. Stevens's line (used as my summary), when asked why he's wearing shades indoors, is truly a howler.
Seven out of 10.