Sunday, August 7, 2011

Spaced Out

I don't remember Joe Dante's Innerspace from when it was released in 1987. I have seen it in video stores many times, but never bothered to pick it up. It was only when Mr. Peel did a writeup that I was moved to put it on the queue. Thank you, Mr. Peel!

Innerspace stars Dennis Quaid as a drunk, washed out test pilot who volunteers to test a new miniaturization process - the latest thing from Silicon Valley. He is going to be miniaturized in a mini-sub, Fantastic Voyage style, and injected into a rabbit. But industrial spy terrorists invade the lab and in the ensuing mixup, Quaid is injected into hypochondriac nebbish Martin Short.

Quaid is able to communicate with Short through his auditory nerve, which makes Short think he is going crazy. They find Quaid's ex-girlfriend, Meg Ryan, and she thinks they are crazy. They all go after the bad guys, and it is crazy.

The sci-fi plot framework is handled pretty well. I'd call the effects good for the money, assuming this was not a big budget feature. But Martin Short makes it hilarious.

I like, but don't worship, Joe Dante. This film is done with his tidy workmanship and frequent little touches. There is some nice casting, including William Schallert (from Trouble with Tribbles and a lot of other TV work), Orson Bean, and Henry Gibson as Short's manager. The staff at the minaturization lab was played by real lab technicians, to get the real lab feeling down (and possibly to keep salaries down).

Two final points:

  1. Big 80's feel here, including a visit to a San Francisco club, with the limpest dance music ever.
  2. Even though it was shot in LA and Marin, with a few SF locations, they got the Silicon Valley feel just right. And the final scene, driving over Mt. Tam towards the Bay made us very homesick.

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