Innerspace

Directed by Joe Dante, Innerspace follows rebellious test pilot Tuck Pendleton (Dennis Quaid) as he’s miniaturized and accidentally injected into a neurotic store clerk named Jack Putter (Martin Short) – with the narrative detailing Tuck’s ongoing efforts at preventing Jack from falling into the hands of several nefarious villains (including Kevin McCarthy’s Scrimshaw and Vernon Wells’ Mr. Igoe). It’s a fairly absurd premise that’s employed to consistently engaging and thoroughly engrossing effect by filmmaker Joe Dante, as the director does a superb job of moving the dense narrative along at an appreciatively brisk clip and eliciting almost unreasonably charismatic work from his various stars – with, in terms of the latter, the palpable chemistry between Quaid and Short’s respective characters ultimately playing a key role in the movie’s undeniable success. (Likewise, Innerspace‘s remarkable surfeit of memorable periphery characters are brought to life by an agreeably eclectic supporting cast that includes Meg Ryan, Robert Picardo, and Henry Gibson.) The persistently entertaining atmosphere is heightened by a frequent emphasis on captivating, larger-than-life set pieces (eg Jack must escape from the back of a meat truck, Tuck is forced to battle a shrunken goon within Jack’s stomach, etc), and although the movie occasionally feels like it might be just a tad longer than necessary, Innerspace is, generally speaking, one of the most enjoyable and spellbinding comedy/adventure films to emerge from the 1980s.

**** out of ****

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