Written by Chip Proser and Jeffrey Boam
Directed by Joe Dante
I can’t remember what my motivation was for renting this DVD. However, after watching Innerspace with my kids, I must say it was a good pick. Part Fantastic Voyage and part swashbuckling adventure, it made for a fun evening for all of us.
Dennis Quaid is Tuck Pendleton, a washed-up pilot who volunteers for a job where he will be shrunk down in a special capsule and inserted in the bloodstream of a rabbit to explore from the inside. Through a series of mishaps, he ends up in the body of Jack Putter, portrayed by Martin Short, who is a high-strung hypochondriac.
In addition to the problem of Tuck being rescued from inside Jack and restored to his original size, the two must evade corporate spies who wish to steal the computer chip which regulates the enlarging practice. Jack has had a life completely devoid of excitement to this point, and his health is strained by all of the excitement this provides. He’s so afraid of dying that he’s become afraid of living.
Tuck also has relationship issues. His steady girlfriend, Lydia Maxwell (portrayed by Meg Ryan) is about three-quarters of the way out the door. When Tuck has Jack enlist her help in what they hope to accomplish, he sees through Jack’s eyes all he hasn’t appreciated up until now.
The acting performances were good. I honestly thing Jack Putter might have been Martin Short’s best comedic role. He is terrific at the physic comedy this role demands of him. Right from the start when Tuck is inside him and Jack doesn’t know what’s going on, Short is funny as he reacts to the optical sensor being placed in his eye as well as hearing Tuck’s voice in his ear when no one else can hear him. One of the best scenes comes when Tuck morphs Jack’s facial features to that of “The Cowboy” (portrayed by Robert Picardo of Star Trek: Voyager fame with an afro – don’t ask). Short nails it so perfectly and it was a huge laugh out loud moment in our house.
Meg Ryan is still in her cute phase as Lydia. She hasn’t gotten that anorexic-thin look. Although the role really isn’t that meaty, she keeps Lydia from being a true wilting violet to Tuck’s hero-like persona. Lydia doesn’t mind standing up for herself and Ryan gives the character a sense of power and capability.
Dennis Quaid seemed natural as Tuck. He’s a man who’s boozing too much, womanizing too much, and throwing away all life has to offer him. He delivers some of the most absurd lines being inside someone’s body convincingly. I don’t know how much of what he was reacting to was effects added later on after he was filmed on blue screen, but he handles his part of this better than some other very wooden performances I’ve witnessed as of late.
Speaking of the effects, they were very inconsistent. In some cases, they were downright cheesy. The red blood cells look like Apple Jacks cereal or cheerios. Other times, they seemed to be very well-done. I have to wonder if certain scenes suffered from the budget tightening as the production went on.
The villains are good, if somewhat cartoonish. Kevin McCarthy, Fiona Lewis and Robert Picardo are the trio. McCarthy at times reminds me of Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil and I have to wonder if this film influenced Mike Myers at all or if they were both drawing on the typical villains of spy thrillers such as the Bond series, but giving them a comic edge.
The film is good, and worth renting for a family movie night. We really enjoyed it and I’m sort of surprised this film isn’t talked about more or shown on television much anymore. It’s a sleeper of a comedy film that’s a lot of fun.
• Cast & Crew biographies
• Commentary with director Joe Dante, producer Mike Fennell, visual effect supervisor (ILM) Dennis Marin, Kevin McCarthy, and Robert Picardo
• Theatrical Trailer
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