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COMPUTER WORE TENNIS SHOES, THE (director: Robert Butler; screenwriter: Joseph L. McEveety; cinematographer: Frank Phillips; editor: Cotton Warburton; music: Robert F. Brunner; cast: Kurt Russell (Dexter Reilly), Cesar Romero (A. J. Arno), Joe Flynn (Dean Higgins), William Schallert (Professor Quigley), Alan Hewitt (Dean Collingsgood), Richard Bakalyan (Chillie Walsh), Debbie Paine (Annie), Frank Webb (Pete), Michael McGreevey (Schuyler), Jon Provost (Bradley), Frank Welker (Henry), Alexander Clarke (Myles), Bing Russell (Angelo); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: G; producer: Bill Anderson; Buena Vista Film; 1969)
TheWalt Disney Productionfamily picture is as pedestrian as its title.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The so-so sci-fi comedy is directed by long-term TV director Robert Butler (“The Barefoot Executive”).TheWalt Disney Productionfamily picture is as pedestrian as its title.Joseph L. McEveety’s screenplay is about concerned college students in conflict with the college dean and the city’s crooked business leader. The college kid leader has super-human ability as a result of a pseudo-scientific discovery, something so ridiculous it puts the premise on shaky grounds and thereby the convoluted plot derived from this outlandish premise never reaches past the silly stage.

Professor Quigley (William Schallert) persuasively asks the board of Medfield College to authorize the purchase of a computer for his science class, while Dean Higgins (Joe Flynn) rails against this request. His argument is that the school can’t afford this luxury. The Dean’s office has been bugged by the students, who listen in at the courtyard below to the private meeting. Student leader Dexter Reilly (Kurt Russell) uses his initiative to get computers without the help of the school by enlisting the support of A. J. Arno (Cesar Romero), the town’s leading “businessman,” to donate his used computer system to Prof. Quigley’s class.

Things go whack when the used computers malfunction and Dexter uses a new part to repair them. This sets off an electrical accident which results in the downloading of the computer’s memory and calculating ability into his brain. Meanwhile Arno feels the computer donation is enough and he doesn’t donate his usual annual gift of $20,000 to the school, which upsets the dean. To make up the revenue loss, Dexter plans to enter the College Bowl game TV show and win $100,000 for the school. But the plan gets complicated when the computer downloads Arno’s illegal gambling sites and the Arno gang thereby kidnap our man Dexter.

This was the first of three time-wasting crowd-pleasing Disney films using this same cock-eyed premise. It struggles to be merely routine slapstick comedy fare.

REVIEWED ON 10/20/2010 GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”