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Picks and Pans Review: Little Darlings

updated 04/07/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/07/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

Two of America's most popular juvenile actresses, hardly sweet 16, nave been put in revealing outfits and a plot that hinges on which will lose her virginity first. Tatum O'Neal, who plays the rich girl at summer camp, and Kristy McNichol, 'he tough street kid, deserve better. O'Neal looks mature and poised enough to be running the camp and far too old to be a camper. But because she is a deft professional, she avoids embarrassment. McNichol, who at 17 is actually a year older than Tatum, fits in more comfortably and, despite the succession of hopelessly dumb scenes, is able to arouse real feeling for her character. The other campers include such appealing young actresses as Alexa Kenin, Cynthia Nixon, Abby Bluestone and Simone Schachter. The one disaster is Armand Assante as the counselor O'Neal tries to seduce. Both screenwriters were women, but the film is smutty and sexist, exploiting young girls' interest in physical matters rather than empathizing with it. The title could have been Little Floozies. (R)

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