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Lieutenant Tuck Pendleton has a new mission:
To go on a small rabbit-themed expedition.
A skilled team of scientists miniaturizes
Both Tuck and a sub to the smallest of sizes.
Before they can put him in their bunny’s body,
A break-in confirms that security’s shoddy.
A doc carries Pendleton in a syringe
And flees Mr. Igoe, who makes people cringe.
When shot, the doc puts Tuck inside one Jack Putter,
A hypochondriacal, worrying nutter.
When Tuck contacts Jack through his eyes and his ears,
It fills Jack with all kinds of overwrought fears.
Escaping from Igoe, Jack follows Tuck’s lead,
In hopes that the government’s help will succeed.
But they overhear that Tuck’s air will run out
If they don’t get a chip that was stolen, no doubt.
They then visit Lydia, Tuck’s ex-girlfriend,
A reporter with key information to lend.
They choose to not say the location of Tuck,
But Igoe shows up, throwing Jack in a truck.
Jack meets Mr. Scrimshaw, who gives him a pitch
On shrinking technology making him rich.
The moving truck’s back door is somewhat ajar
So Jack swings away into Lydia’s car.
They find and tie up Scrimshaw’s tech-selling goon,
The Cowboy, who they learn will meet his boss soon.
To make sure their rendezvous still will take place,
Tuck somehow gives Jack the suave Cowboy’s own face.
The next morning, Scrimshaw almost gives the chip,
But Jack’s face reverts when he can’t get a grip.
Then Scrimshaw shrinks Igoe to launch an attack
On Tuck’s tiny sub once he joins him in Jack.
When Putter and Lydia fight through a man,
They shrink all the bad guys because…well, they can.
While they try to deal with a miniature foe,
Tuck’s being assaulted by Mr. Igoe.
With air running very low, Tuck’s almost bested,
But drops to the stomach, where Igoe’s digested.
They all hurry back to the lab with the chips
And re-enlarge Tuck and his smallest of ships.
With everyone safe, Tuck and Lydia marry,
And yet there’s still danger to which they’re unwary.
So Jack follows them to save each newlywed,
Not scared anymore to drive full speed ahead.

Innerspace is a comedy, sci-fi, action, adventure, romance, and bizarre buddy movie all rolled into one. Joe Dante’s films are known for being quirky, to say the least, but Innerspace remains one of his most straightforwardly entertaining movies and the only one to win an Academy Award (for best Visual Effects). Dennis Quaid with his triangular grin has all his usual 1980s charisma, but it is Martin Short that steals the show as the neurotic Jack Putter. His comedic input is what makes Innerspace better than other Dennis Quaid sci-fi films like Dreamscape or Enemy Mine.

Meg Ryan’s Lydia also has some good scenes, as does Robert Picardo as the Cowboy. As a fan of Star Trek: Voyager, I get a real kick out of seeing the holographic Doctor (a much more stolid role for Picardo) smoking Cuban cigars, speaking in a foreign accent, and letting loose on the dance floor. (Nerdy trivia note: Though they didn’t really have a scene together here, Picardo and Wendy Schaal, who played Jack’s co-worker, were a couple on the Voyager episode “Real Life.” I at least thought that was cool.)

The special effects are quite well done and blow away anything from the old Fantastic Voyage. While the convoluted plot makes sense for the most part, there are a few continuity issues. Spoiler Alert (I know the whole poem is a spoiler, but I didn’t mention this): When Tuck enters Lydia’s body through a kiss with Jack, he winds up somehow in her womb to see his own child growing there; he later returns to the mouth at just the proper time for another kiss to return him to Jack. I may not know a lot about anatomy, but I don’t think the mouth and the uterus are that close to each other. Was he just wandering around aimlessly in the space between spaces? Why is Tuck’s sub the size of a fat cell at the beginning but later “large” enough to be picked up with tweezers?

Despite these minor issues and some thankfully restrained language, Innerspace is a joy ride through the human body. Tuck’s and Jack’s different perspectives on the things each of them do are priceless, and the end leaves open the possibility of a sequel that never materialized. Still, Dante and Spielberg gave us some great laughs and thrills in Innerspace.

Best line: (Tuck, speaking to Jack in his ear) “I’m right here, inside you, inside your body!” (Jack, standing up) “Oh, God! Somebody help me! I’M POSSESSED!”

Artistry: 5
Characters/Actors: 6
Entertainment: 9
Visual Effects: 6
Originality: 4
Watchability: 8
Other (frequent language and innuendo): -5
TOTAL: 33 out of 60

Next: #277 – The Jungle Book

© 2014 S. G. Liput