The Incredible Shrinking Woman

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The Incredible Shrinking Woman
Incredible shrinking woman.jpg
Original film poster
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Produced by Hank Moonjean
Written by Richard Matheson (novel)
Jane Wagner (screenplay)
Starring Lily Tomlin
Charles Grodin
Ned Beatty
John Glover
Elizabeth Wilson
Music by Suzanne Ciani
Cinematography Bruce Logan
Edited by Jeff Gourson
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) January 30, 1981
Running time 88 Minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $18,400,000

The Incredible Shrinking Woman is a 1981 science fiction/comedy film directed by Joel Schumacher, written by Jane Wagner and starring Lily Tomlin, Charles Grodin, Ned Beatty, John Glover and Elizabeth Wilson. This film is a take-off on the 1957 science fiction classic film The Incredible Shrinking Man, and credited as based on Richard Matheson's 1956 novel, The Shrinking Man. The original music score was composed by Suzanne Ciani.

The film was released in pan-and-scan on VHS by Universal on July 13, 1994. On November 4, 2009, an unmastered low-quality DVD release (manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media) in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen was offered under the Universal Vault Series banner.

Plot[edit]

Pat Kramer is an ordinary suburban housewife and mother whose husband works for an advertising company. After constant daily exposure to a mixture of household chemicals and beauty products, she begins to shrink gradually at first then rapidly. A few weeks pass and Pat has shrunk to the height of her own children. Eventually she becomes a celebrity of sorts appearing on The Mike Douglas Show and captures the hearts of the American people. Soon she is less than a foot tall making her like a doll to her children and forcing her to move into a dollhouse.

Pat is kidnapped by a group of mad scientists who make it seem that she perished in the kitchen garbage disposal. They plan to shrink everyone in the world by performing experiments on her to learn her secret. With the help of a kind young lab custodian and a super-intelligent gorilla named Sydney she escapes. Speaking of her escape to a crowd of people she continues to shrink saying her goodbyes before becoming microscopic in size. Vanishing from sight, she is again presumed dead but in fact she falls into a puddle of spilled household chemicals - which returns her to her original size. After her homecoming celebrating her returning to a normal size she notices that her wedding ring is now too tight while her foot is splitting her shoe open suggesting she might still be growing.

Cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]

Lily Tomlin plays four characters in this film: lead character Pat Kramer; her neighbor Judith Beasley (a character derived from Tomlin's live shows); Tomlin's Laugh-In characters "Ernestine" (a telephone operator); and "Edith Ann," (a little girl - seen only in the TV version of the film). Lily Tomlin and Elizabeth Wilson previously appeared together in Nine to Five as Violet Newstead and Roz Keith, respectively.

Rick Baker, who plays Sydney the Gorilla in the film, was the very first recipient of the Oscar for Best Make-Up for An American Werewolf in London when the category was first introduced in 1981. Baker's career, especially his early fascination with gorillas and his work in three movies featuring them is told in the TV documentary Gorillas: Primal Contact.

Actor Dick Wilson plays a fussy supermarket manager - much like his famous Charmin tissue TV commercial character: Mr. Whipple.

The film's writer, Jane Wagner, is Tomlin's longtime life partner and frequent collaborator.

Reception[edit]

The film opened to predominantly negative reviews from critics. As of June 1, 2014, tthe film has a 0% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Upon release, the New York Times' Vincent Canby called the film:

"an amiably funny variation on Jack Arnold's classic 1957 science-fiction film, The Incredible Shrinking Man, which had been based on Richard Matheson's novel The Shrinking Man," and went on to write that the film was "a low-key comedy that rambles from one comic idea to the next with the slightly uneasy manner of a nightclub comedian doing a new improvisation. It succeeds in bits and pieces that are separated by long patches that are more remarkable for their good will than for their wit."

Regarding Jane Wagner's screenplay, he wrote:

"Miss Wagner has a great talent for the kind of monologues, sketches and oddball characters that made Miss Tomlin's Appearing Nitely so memorable on Broadway, but not for creating a sustained comic narrative."[1]

The Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert was more enthusiastic for the comedy, calling it:

"a terrific movie for kids and teenagers. It's a melancholy fact of the times we live in that any movie of even moderate ambition is supposed to become a blockbuster - and that "family movies," with few exceptions, are inane, innocent, and boring. But The Incredible Shrinking Woman is not inane, is sometimes wickedly knowing, and is only periodically boring."

Ebert noted that the movie was:

"also funny in its visual approach, showing us a suburban world in which everything is done in hideously jolly colors and everybody, even the TV anchorman, wears peach blazers. America in this movie looks like a gigantic paint-color chart,"

but ultimately remarked that while the movie succeeds on several levels, it does so:

"without ever breaking through to become a really inspired comedy."[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Canby, Vincent (January 30, 1981). "The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981)". The New York Times. Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ Ebert, Robert (January 1, 1981). "The Incredible Shrinking Woman". Retrieved July 24, 2012. 

External links[edit]