January 25, 1988 12:00 PM

In addition to director Matthew (The Legend of Billie Jean) Robbins, there are four other co-writers and five producers of one sort or another on this movie. With all those grownups, you’d think they could have remembered to put something in it for us older folks. Along with the batteries, subtle, adult humor isn’t included either. The story starts as the buildings in Hume Cronyn’s and Jessica Tandy’s run-down Manhattan neighborhood are being demolished to make room for skyscrapers. Cartoonish toughs try to bully them and other remaining tenants into leaving. Powerless to do anything, Cronyn prays for a miracle. He doesn’t get ET though. Instead executive producer Steven Spielberg gives us GE: Toaster-size flying saucers invade the tenement. They have an uncanny knack for fixing things—and for beating up bullies. The little things are kind of cute—for appliances, that is—especially when they “bring things to life” and three muffin-size offspring pop up. Along with the special effects, there’s enough of a charge here to keep kids in their seats. Parents, however, may want to bring a good book and a small flashlight—and don’t forget the batteries. (PG)

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