Dante's Inner Body Experience
Released back in 1987 "Innerspace" is in some ways director Joe Dante and producer Steven Spielberg's attempt to update the 60's movie genre which saw people going on unconventional journeys such as the "Fantastic Voyage". Starring Martin Short, Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan "Innerspace" attempts to be a comedy with a little bit of drama and action thrown in for good measure, although whilst entertaining the blend doesn't always work and makes it slightly laborious in places.
With his career as a test pilot on the rocks Lt. Tuck Pendelton (Dennis Quaid - Vantage Point) agrees to take part in a scientific experiment where he will be shrunk and injected into a rabbit. Except whilst the experiment is taking place a group of criminals attempt to steal the technology and Tuck ends up being injected into hypochondriac store clerk Jack Putter (Martin Short - The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause). When Tuck realises what has happened and convinces Jack that he's not possessed and has inadvertently been injected with him, they set about tracking down the bungling robbers to retrieve the scientific equipment whilst also convincing Tuck's love of his life Lydia (Meg Ryan - Top Gun) not to give up on him.
The storyline behind "Innerspace" is not that bad and is the sort of imaginative fair you would expect from director Joe Dante who had given us the horror comedy "Gremlins". Indeed it is very much in tune with those adventure movies from the 60's with a modern twist to make it feel more contemporary. Plus it puts a further twist on matters by basically being a buddy movie but one which sees one buddy being inside the other, a bit similar in some ways to Steve Martin's "All of Me".
But "Innerspace" is an unbalanced movie which tries to blend elements, not always successfully, giving it an uneven pace going from high energy action through to laborious quasi drama. When "Innerspace" focuses on the humorous side of the storyline mainly that of Tuck being stuck inside Jack there is no doubt that it is entertaining, often laugh out loud funny with Martin Short excelling with visual gags. But then the flipside of this is that when the movie starts to focus on the robbers it loses the energy and momentum causing it at times to feel like it's dragging its feet. It certainly needed this extra storyline to make the movie feel interesting but the blend doesn't work often feeling slightly at odds with itself as to whether a scene should be semi-dramatic or humorous.
But the comedy is what makes "Innerspace" such a memorable movie and gives us so many memorable scenes where Martin Short for want of a better word basically rocks. The scene where he starts hearing Tuck speaking to him from inside his body is hilarious with the shriek of "I'm Possessed" and this sort of humour carries on for much of the movie. What is nice is that Dante shows restraint in not allowing the humour to end up being crass which could have easily been the case given Tuck's dire situation stuck inside Jack.
Of course having been made during the 80's "Innerspace" does feel a little dated and indeed the special effects look a little rudimentary in comparison to today's CGI laden block busters. But the slightly simplish effects actually add some charm to "Innerspace" giving it an added element of fun, so to speak. Although saying that, not all the special effects are terrible and some still stand out as being good, which must have been very impressive when originally released.
One other slight issue when it comes to "Innerspace" it is one of those movies that takes it time to really get going. The introductions and set up feel like they take an age before it gets to the actual main storyline and because of this it's one of those movies which you could easily become disappointed with before it even gets goings.
Performance wise well although sharing the billing with Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan "Innerspace" is really a Martin Short movie. Having spent time playing supporting roles Short shows he can deliver as a leading man as long as it is a comedy which allows him to capitalize on his slightly wacky humour. Alongside Short is Dennis Quaid who despite being limited to a pretty stationary role, being stuck in a capsule inside Jack, does quite a decent job especially as the character of Tuck is a huge contrast to that of Jack. Plus of course there is Meg Ryan who demonstrates that cute, likeable factor which would help make her a big star a few years later.
What this all boils down to is that as a bit of 80s nostalgia "Innerspace" is an entertaining if a little uneven movie which will make you laugh. It certainly feels a little dated but has enough charm about it to make you keep watching till the end especially with Martin Short basically being a riot as the hypochondriac Jack.