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Picks and Pans Review: Breaking Away

updated 07/23/1979 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/23/1979 01:00AM

Very simple, very funny and very well-made, this comedy is about four high school chums—Dennis Christopher, Jackie Earle Haley, Dan Stern and Dennis Quaid—growing up in Bloomington, Ind. When they begin to feel life has passed them by because they didn't go to college—Indiana University is right in their backyard—inevitable skirmishes between town and gown follow. The climax is a 200-lap bicycle race the four friends enter to one-up the students. Of the four, Christopher, last seen in California Dreaming, is most affecting as a dead-end kind of kid pretending to be an Italian for macho effect. His befuddled parents, Barbara (The Bell Jar) Barrie and Paul (A Wedding) Dooley, are hilarious; lovely Robyn Douglass is perfect as the sorority girl who falls for Christopher's tall tales. Though low-budget, the film is deftly directed mostly on location in Bloomington by Peter (The Deep) Yates and has the well-adjusted charm of a small Midwestern town. (PG)

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