By Ken Tucker
Updated April 05, 1996 at 05:00 AM EST

Such an obscure premise, such a homely little movie: In Race the Sun, a gaggle of Hawaiian teenagers enter a solar-powered-car race held in Australia. The teens are students of teachers played by Halle Berry (who overacts enthusiastically) and Jim Belushi (who can’t seem to be bothered to inflect a line). Their young charges are stereotypical misfits: a nerd, a hood, a drinker, an overweight fellow for everyone else to pick on. None of the unknown actors are worth singling out for particular punishment. The only things Race the Sun has going for it are those cars. They’re Soap Box Derby entries gone gonzo, all shapes and sizes, with solar panels stuck to their sides. They’re fun to watch putt-putting along vast stretches of Australian highway, and the cars, combined with Race‘s underdogs-can-be-winners message, lend the film whatever usefulness it has as children’s entertainment.