Picks and Pans Review: Lucas

updated 04/21/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/21/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

Despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that this movie about teenagers has no big name Brat Packers to showcase, it is engrossing. From the looks of it, writer-director David Seltzer might have gone to the John Hughes school of filmmaking: He treats teenagers as intelligent human beings with a wide range of emotions, not just as beer-guzzling sexual automatons. Corey (Murphy's Romance) Haim gives a captivating performance as a 14-year-old free-thinking nerd who's an accelerated student at the local high school. He befriends and then falls in love with a slightly older, exceptionally cute girl, Kerri (The Goonies) Green, who's just moved to town. There's a great chemistry between them as they spend an idyllic summer together that translates beautifully on film. She sees him as unique as she shares his passion for insects and classical music. But when school starts, Green starts going out with a star football player, Charlie (Red Dawn) Sheen. Wildly jealous, the pint-size Haim cons the football coach into letting him play in the opening-day game, risking injury and ridicule. This isn't just another Rocky-Karate Kid film, though. In his directorial debut Seltzer manages to avoid the stereotypical conclusions that so often dominate teen flicks. Instead he seriously explores the emotions of adolescents caught between friendship and love at an age when it's especially easy to confuse the two. (PG-13)

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