But I really enjoy the circumstance this film delivers on, however campy it may become. It's a fun little challenge this set of characters have to get through, a very traditional Hollywood adventure structure, an innocent bystander thrust into some secretive government/science experiment by accident, ripping him from his mundane life into the otherworldly, having to face the circumstances as a common man. Martin Short delivers on this well, a nebbish store clerk with a frail structure, while inside of him is a maverick (literally Quaid appears as Tom Cruise in Top Gun, smile, gestures, and all) who has a penchant for alcohol and the ladies. A guy like that doesn't seem quite deserving of all he gets, and the film never really addresses that either, which, for the sake of steering around emotional cliches, is fine.
The villainous aspect of the film didn't work too well for my taste, it all felt rather cheaply thrown together - 'we need bad guys, competitors who will go to any length.' Add to that an all too happy to please henchman, in the vein of Bond's Jaws, except with a mechanical arm - who's menace comes from black hair, evil smiles, and low angle lights - and you're right on track for your typical studio fare.
The idea of being inside a body has tremendous implications that would be interesting to explore in an independent film one day, and it wouldn't include any of this camp. Inside Out did an excellent job of this, giving neural functions character life, the inside affecting the outside as much as the vice versa, exploring the real challenges of the boundaries both parties have, and how they have to work together to create harmony. Innerspace attempts that more cheaply with less emotional weight. We're not so much a voyeur through Jack as we are an observer of Tuck inside Jack, a less satisfying approach to the possibility presented.
I love the 80s sci-fi effects, Dennis Muren is on top of his game. This was a time when things were built to scale, props and sets that told a story, lit so as not to hide anything, space for the actors to develop their characters. This film look, with things you can grasp, is a lost art, replaced by digital video, CGI, and overly stylized chiaroscuros for competing cinematographers. Speaking of 'built to scale,' there may have been fun large size props created for this movie, but the scale of Tuck's miniaturization was awfully inconsistent. At times he appeared on a nanoscale, other times like the size of a ladybug or larger.
The film's convoluted finale did nothing for me, a mushy, contrived wedding for a relationship that's hardly been resolved, with a cheaply added cliffhanger showing the bad guys still on Tuck's trail, leaving the solution in Jack's court, which is taking on the role of the hero and leaving his former life behind. Was that what this was all about? Shows a screenplay that's unfocused, uncertain of what it's tying to achieve. It feels like at this point, everyone took on the attitude, 'doesn't matter, shoot it, get this thing done already.'
A surprising PG rating, with multiple sexual/masturbatory references; an alleged handjob machine that doesn't work right, a twisting cork for clitoral stimulation, "you don't talk to it, you play with it" an old man utters to Jack in the bathroom stall, Tuck clearly lascivious with women at the office, Dr. Canker excessively horny for no reason. During the scene Canker implies she'd like to warm up Jack in the meat freezer, did anyone else think studio execs got the idea to cast Martin Short as Jack Frost in Santa Clause 3 seeing him frozen while repeatedly hearing villains utter 'Jack'?
Everyone in the cast is at their finest. Meg Ryan is hot.