By Steve Simels
Updated January 31, 1992 at 05:00 AM EST

The Spirit of ’76 is a B movie with a premise so good — 21st-century scientists try time-traveling to 1776 but (unbeknownst to them) wind up in 1976 — it’s a pity it isn’t better made. Writer-director Lucas Reiner has a nice eye for the cultural ephemera of the disco era (mood rings, platform shoes, polyester clothes), and he coaxes amusing cameo performances out of some astutely chosen celebs, particularly Julie Brown as a peep-show performer obsessed by the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and the Watergate break-in. But while the end result has a certain cheesy elan, you’re conscious mostly of the slack pacing, generally amateurish acting, and wasted satirical opportunities. C+

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