Reviewed by: Brett Willis
|Featuring:||Rick Moranis, Marcia Strassman, Amy O'Neill, Robert Oliveri, Thomas Wilson Brown, Matt Frewer, Kristine Sutherland, Jared Rushton|
|Director:||Joe Johnston, Robert Minkoff|
|Producer:||Penney Finkelman Cox, Jon Landau, Brian Yuzna, Stuart Gordon, Thomas G. Smith, Steven Spielberg|
|Distributor:||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
When I first heard this film’s title, it sounded pretty silly. And silly it is. But it’s cleaner than most modern comedies, and it thankfully doesn’t have the liberal-humanist philosophical overhead found in most Sci-Fi films. Basically, it’s just escapist fun.
A nerdy and wacky scientist, Prof. Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis, “Ghostbusters”, “Spaceballs”, “The Flintstones”) has invented a machine that he believes can shrink (or expand) anything by just changing the amount of empty space between atoms (it’s a comedy, so never mind that things would still have the same mass or weight). Problem is, the machine always overheats and blows things up before it can shrink them. While the Prof isn’t around, a freak accident solves the overheating problem; and then the machine shrinks Szalinski’s two kids and the two neighbor kids to about 1/4 inch high. Not noticing them, Szalinski sweeps them up and puts them out with the garbage; so they must cut their way out of the bag and return to the house through their back yard (the equivalent of several miles). While they’re having adventures with bugs, the lawn mower and the sprinkler system, Szalinski realizes what’s happened; and he and his wife Diane (Marcia Strassman), who’ve been having problems, are drawn closer together.
There’s some mild vulgarity (“We’re all the size of boogers,” “Blow it out your shorts”). While the kids are safariing through the backyard, a romance develops between Amy Szalinski (Amy O'Neill) and neighbor boy Russ Thompson (Thomas Wilson Brown). There’s one kiss, interrupted by a scorpion attack; Russ also saves Amy from drowning, and there’s a running joke about him having learned CPR in French class. The giant-lawn sets and the animated bugs are impressive; the violence and scariness may be too much for some younger viewers even though it’s tempered with goofball humor.
On the plus side, relationships in both affected families improve as a result of the situation. Szalinski was guilty of not paying enough attention to his adoring lookalike son Nick (Robert Oliveri); and the other father, Russ Thompson Sr. (Matt Frewer, “Max Headroom”), was pushing Little Russ to be something that he couldn’t be. Weathering the shrunk-kids crisis causes everyone to reevaluate what’s really important in life, so things actually turn out better than they were before.
The film is preceded by a Roger Rabbit/Baby Herman cartoon, which is somewhat more violent than an average Road Runner episode.
Followed by: “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid” (1992); “Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves” (1996); and a TV series.