innerspaceWarner Bros.
1987
PG

“You’ve got a big future in retail food marketing, and I’d hate to see you blow it now by going psycho on us.”

Ah, Joe Dante. His movies factor into my Nostalgia Databank quite often. Gremlins, Explorers, and of course, Innerspace, a kind of Fantastic Voyage by way of a Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis comedy.

It was the summer of 1987. The parental units decided to take my sister and me to the drive-in theater just outside of Fremont, Nebraska for a special fireworks display and a showing of the recently released Innerspace. So, my first viewing of this movie was by way of an American movie experience that was in the later death throes at the time. It was quite the experience, mainly because I was fending off mosquitoes more often than paying attention to the movie. But, I ended up watching Innerspace a few more times on video rentals and one time on Cinemax.

In Innerspace, a Navy Lieutenant named Tuck volunteers for a top-secret experiment that involves being put inside a submarine pod and miniaturized, with the express purpose of being injected into a rabbit. Because SCIENCE! But, because this is the 80s, the lab is set upon by a rival organization before the injection could happen, and during a chase, the itty-bitty Tuck is injected inside a grocery store clerk. The clerk…well, he’s a bit of a hypochondriac. Okay, okay…a whole lot of a hypocondriac. Anyway, after doing soe science-y stuff, Tuck manages to see and communicate with his unsuspecting host, with all the wackiness that would ensue with this kind of thing. So now, Tuck only has a few hours of oxygen left, and he needs to get out of the clerk and get re-embiggened. But, the bad guys have the computer chips necessary to do that, and so Jack gets the clerk to enlist the help of his estranged girlfriend to go after what they need. Will they be able to extract Tuck in time, before he becomes a permanent fixture inside his hapless host?

What can I say, really, other than Innerspace is another one of those fun family oriented science fiction flicks from the era that more or less defined modern whimsical fantastic storytelling. Sure, the story is pretty derivative from Fantastic Voyage, and it’s a predictable plot, but it’s nevertheless a fun ride throughout. The dynamic between Dennis Quaid and Martin Short as Tuck and Jack the clerk respectively is inspired. And just for pointless geek moments, this movie features a pre-Star Trek Voyager Robert Picardo as a bad guy named “The Cowboy”. It seems Picardo features in more than a couple of Dante movies in the 1980s. Anyway, it’s another fun 80s sci-fi flick that is worth the watch some rainy Saturday afternoon.