Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, Meg Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, Fiona Lewis, Vernon Wells, Robert Picardo, Wendy Schaal, Harold Sylvester, William Schallert, Henry Gibson, John Hora, Mark L. Taylor, Orson Bean, Kevin Hooks, Kathleen Freeman, Archie Hahn, Dick Miller
Written by: Chip Proser, Jeffrey Boam, based on a story by Chip Proser
Directed by: Joe Dante
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 120
Date: 07/01/1987
IMDB

Innerspace (1987)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Thinking Small

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After the huge success of Gremlins, director Joe Dante couldn't get another hit if he paid for it. Co-produced by Steven Spielberg, Innerspace should have been a huge summer blockbuster, but if memory serves, it never even arrived at my small town multiplex until the fall, and even then only for a single midnight screening.

In what Dante calls his "Martin and Lewis" film, Dennis Quaid plays a cocky San Francisco cosmonaut named Tuck Pendleton who volunteers to be shrunk down to the size of a molecule and injected into the body of a rabbit for study. Instead -- thanks to bad guys who want to get their hands on the formula -- he finds himself injected into a hypochondriac Safeway bagger named Jack Putter (Martin Short). Meg Ryan co-stars as Quaid's girlfriend, who lends a hand.

Dante's usual subversive quality is on display throughout, digging into old cartoons and movies to expose the bizarre behavior of humans. Though Innerspace plays like a mix of exhilarating adventure and smart comedy, it's deepened by the notion that little Quaid is floating around inside Short's body sinking hooks into things, ripping open veins, triggering stomach acid, and the like. At one point, Short requests that Quaid cause him "no pain" during their journey, but I'd hate to see the damage done to his insides after the film's end.

It was happy news when Warner Home Video released this movie, one of my favorites, on Blu-ray. It comes with the same commentary track as the 2004 DVD release (Dante, producer Michael Finnell, effects supervisor Dennis Muren, and actors Kevin McCarthy and Robert Picardo). Some of the other extras from the DVD are sadly excised, but a trailer is included.

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