Graduate student Teri McDonald (Helen Hunt) learns that the university is cutting funding on her research, which involved teaching sign language to a chimpanzee named Virgil. She is reassured, though, that Virgil will be well cared for in a Houston zoo. The scene then shifts to a Florida Air Force base at which a top-secret experimental research project is being staged. Jimmy Garrett (Matthew Broderick), who is new to the project, works with other trainers to teach chimps to work a flight simulator. He later learns that the chimpanzees, while in the simulator cockpit, are subjected to high levels of radiation. There's practically nothing wrong with PROJECT X. Broderick is superb as always and proves that he is a commanding screen presence even in the company of a cute chimp. Hunt also turns in a fine performance. Surprisingly, even the film's bad guy (Bill Sadler) has some redeeming qualities, preventing the script from becoming patently simpleminded.