"D.A.R.Y.L." will make you laugh and make you cry and maybe even suggest a thought or two about the way the military-industrial complex is stepping on our feelings . . .

Well, not really. Let's try again:

Daryl (a tic-ridden Barret Oliver) has been abandoned in the woods, so he's sent off to stay with foster parents, the Richardsons (a charming Michael McKean and a wooden Mary Beth Hurt). He seems like an ordinary kid, but gee willikers, he does arithmetic like lightning and plays piano like Liberace and hits home runs in Little League and gets a record score on the video game and on and on. Mysteriously, he doesn't remember his parents.

After a full hour of this, it becomes as obvious as a billboard that Daryl is not a kid, but a cyborg, part human, part machine -- his name is an acronym for Data-Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform. Finally, the movie reveals this amazing fact, and introduces the villain to boot. Well, it's got to be either the scientists or the military, and it turns out to be the military who have commissioned D.A.R.Y.L., and who want to junk the kid because he's not killer enough. By this point, you're siding with the Joint Chiefs, but his creator (poor Josef Sommer, who rightly regards the movie as an affliction) helps him escape. There is a protracted car chase, a gooey death vigil, and finally, blessed release.

The script (by David Ambrose, Allan Scott and Jeffrey Ellis) is moronic and so riddled with improbabilities that the suspense element never takes root. Director Simon Wincer has no sense of pace or rhythm, but boy does he love to shoot helicopters and jet fighters, which whizz at the camera in great booming arcs. Well, it is noisy.