Everyone knows that teenagers are smarter than adults, and if given a chance the kids could save the world -- if they don't blow it to bits first. The Manhattan Project tells of how 16-year-old Paul Stephens (Christopher Collet) tries to alert his community to the dangers of nuclear energy. John Mathewson (John Lithgow), a doctor in a pharmaceutical research plant wherein covert plutonium experiments are taking place, is the boyfriend of Paul's mom, Elizabeth (Jill Eikenberry). While Mathewson is romantically occupied, Paul and his girl, Jenny Anderman (Cynthia Nixon), steal the plutonium and construct their own atomic bomb. They do this, of course, as a warning to foolhardy grown-ups -- none more foolhardy than the folks who put up good money to make this film. The Manhattan Project was directed by longtime Woody Allen collaborator Marshall Brickman, whose expert sense of comic timing obscures the thickheaded "message" of this picture.
by Hal Erickson synopsis