Corey (Fred Savage – from television’s The Wonder Years), whose parents have divorced, cannot live with his mother’s decision to have his emotionally disturbed younger brother, Jimmy (Luke Edwards – Jeepers Kreepers II, American Pie 2), put in an institution. Corey takes Jimmy and they run away. On the road, Corey discovers that Jimmy is a whiz at video games. Any game. Even if he has never played it before. Jimmy wants to go to California to compete in a video game competition. Corey sees dollar symbols. The two brothers start hitchhiking. Before they get far they meet up with the smart and spunky Haley (Jenny Lewis – Pleasantville, Troop Beverly Hills), who comes along with the brothers as an ‘advisor’.
In the meantime, Corey and Jimmy’s parents realize that they have run away. Their mom Christine (Wendy Phillips – Friends With Money, I Am Sam) and her new husband (Sam McMurray – Lucky Numbers, The Mod Squad) hire a shady bounty hunter (Will Seltzer – Johnny Dangerously, More American Graffiti) to find Jimmy while his father, Sam (Beau Bridges – The Fabulous Baker Boys, Charlotte’s Web), and older brother, Nick (Christian Slater – Bobby, Young Guns), get in their car to search for the boys. Haley, Corey and Jimmy manage to stay ahead of the bounty hunter and the boys’ father mostly due to Haley’s street smarts.
Once they get to California is when the challenge for Jimmy really begins. He is going head to head with the best young video game players in the entire United States, including the reigning champion, Lucas (Jackey Vinson – first film).
Amazingly enough this film was made as an advertisement for Nintendo’s video game, Super Mario Brothers 3. There are also product plugs for The Adventures of Zelda, a new product called the Power Glove, Double Dragon, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. For those of you who came of age during the 1970s the film will harken back to The Who’s “Pinball Wizard” a little bit.
The film is along the quality of a movie-of-the-week, so the production values aren’t the greatest, the 80s references are slightly dated, but still there are some entertaining moments in the film. The story itself verges on the fromage type with some poor acting and predictability thrown in for good measure, but still who does not want to sit on their couch on a Sunday afternoon reliving the 80s?