This film's central conceit - that the student bodies of prestigious technical institutions are just as raucous and hormonal as your average fraternity house - isn't particularly revelatory, but a young Val Kilmer at his most charismatic and irreverent ensures that "Real Genius" places a respectable second in the Kilmer Eighties comedy duology that includes this and "Top Secret." Not bad company to be in.
Coolidge does a good job of taking a very off-beat script (especially for the '80s) to a higher plain. In the end, the mix of genres and tones doesn't always work, but when it does, the film soars. And Val Kilmer's energy and the way he explores the space around him is truly noteworthy.