Real Genius is one of my favorite 80s films. If for no other reason than the fast-paced story, razor sharp one-liners, and brilliant pranks. For example, the revenge visited on Dr. Hathaway at the end is perhaps the most perfect in comedy history (even better than the Animal House finale). Real Genius deftly pulls off what few films have managed to do--it makes it cool to be a techno geek. Revenge of the Nerds attempted the same thing, but its approach was much more ham-handed. The characters are well done, especially Dr. Hathaway, Chris Knight (Val Kilmer at his best), Kent, and a surpringly hot Jordan (played by the hyperkinetic Michelle Meyrink). The dialog is also top notch, even for the minor characters (Dr. H- "I noticed your stuttering has improved, Brody.". B- "I've been giving myself shock treatments.", Dr. H - "Up the voltage."). As an extra bonus, it features a memorable mid-80s soundtrack too.
Despite all that, I subtracted one star for the film's ending, which is totally divorced from reality. Lets face it--there is nothing wrong or illegal with using science to build weapons--it happens all the time. In real-life, the aftermath of these events would have resulted in Chris, Mitch, and Jordan going to Federal Prison (for sabatoging a multi-million $$ DOD test), Kent going blind (his retinas surely burned out from staring directly at the laser beam), and Dr. Hathaway suing the Air Force for professional and personal damages (the test would have gone fine if base security wasn't so shoddy). Oh yeah, and Brody gets the Darlington job by default.