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For other uses, see Inner space (disambiguation).
Directed by Joe Dante
Produced by Michael Finnell
Screenplay by Jeffrey Boam
Chip Proser
Story by Chip Proser
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Andrew Laszlo
Edited by Kent Beyda
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • July 1, 1987 (1987-07-01)
Running time
120 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $25,893,810 (domestic)[1]

Innerspace is a 1987 science fiction comedy film directed by Joe Dante and produced by Michael Finnell. Steven Spielberg served as executive producer. The film was inspired by the 1966 science fiction film Fantastic Voyage. It stars Dennis Quaid, Martin Short and Meg Ryan, with Robert Picardo and Kevin McCarthy, with music composed by Jerry Goldsmith. It earned $25,893,810 of domestic gross revenue and won an Oscar, the only film directed by Dante to do so.


Set in San Francisco, California, down-on-his-luck naval aviator Lt. Tuck Pendleton (Quaid) resigns his commission and volunteers for a secret miniaturization experiment. He is placed in a submersible pod, and both are shrunk to microscopic size. They are transferred into a syringe to be injected into a rabbit, but the lab is attacked by a rival organization led by scientist Dr. Margaret Canker (Fiona Lewis) planning to seize the experiment and steal their technology.

Experiment supervisor Ozzie Wexler (John Hora), knowing their intentions, escapes with the syringe. A chase ensues with one of Canker's henchmen and leads to a nearby shopping mall. After being fatally shot and knowing he is about to die, he injects Tuck and the pod into an unsuspecting Jack Putter (Martin Short), a hypochondriac grocery store clerk who happens to be the first person he comes into contact with.

On awakening from unconsciousness, Tuck is unaware of what has happened and believes he's been injected into the rabbit. It's only when all attempts to radio the lab are unsuccessful that he navigates the pod to the optic nerve and implants a camera so he is able to see what the "host" sees. This is when he realizes he is inside a human. In an effort to make contact, Tuck attaches another device to Jack's inner ear, enabling him to talk to Jack, initially with embarrassing consequences. Tuck explains that the pod has only a few hours' supply of oxygen and needs his help in order to extract him by going back to the lab.

At the lab, the scientists explain to Tuck and Jack that the other group wants to sell the miniaturization technology for use in espionage. In the raid on the lab, they stole one of two computer chips that are vital to the process. The group's mastermind is Victor Scrimshaw (Kevin McCarthy), his main henchmen are "the Cowboy" (Robert Picardo), Mr. Igoe (Vernon Wells) and Canker is his scientific supervisor.

By contacting Tuck's estranged girlfriend Lydia Maxwell (Meg Ryan), who has had dealings with the Cowboy, they learn that the Cowboy plans to buy the computer chip from Scrimshaw. After knocking the Cowboy unconscious using the pod's equipment, Tuck controls the muscles of Jack's face to make it look like the Cowboy's, and with him posing as the Cowboy, they meet with Scrimshaw and steal the chip from him. However, as they're about to take possession of the chip, Jack's nervousness overrides the transformation of his face, exposing the scam. Mr. Igoe captures Jack and Lydia and takes them to the lab. While imprisoned Jack and Lydia share a kiss, which unknown to them transfers Tuck into Lydia's body through their saliva. Once taken to the lab, the criminals miniaturize Igoe and inject him into Jack to locate Tuck, kill him and obtain the other chip which is attached to the pod.

Once Igoe has been injected, Jack and Lydia escape, steal back the chip and order everyone in the lab into the miniaturization device, including Scrimshaw and Margaret. However, not knowing how to operate it, they only manage to miniaturize everyone to 50% of the original size. Tuck, now inside Lydia, finds a growing baby and realizes not only is he inside her but that she is pregnant with his child. By going to Lydia's ear drum and playing their song he is able to alert them what has happened at which point they kiss again to transfer Tuck back. After fighting their way through a couple more guards they frantically drive back to the lab in order to enlarge Tuck, not realizing that miniature versions of Scrimshaw and Margaret are hiding in the back seat and trying to make them crash. Meanwhile, Igoe locates Tuck and attacks him, but Tuck disables Igoe's craft, and when he abandons it and clings to the pod, Tuck kills him by dropping him into Jack's stomach, where Mr. Igoe is digested.

Back at the lab, with only minutes of supplemental oxygen left in the pod, Jack follows Tuck's instructions to eject the pod from his lungs by making himself sneeze. Tuck and the pod are successfully enlarged, and he is reunited with Lydia and finally gets to meet Jack in person. The films ends at Tuck and Lydia's wedding, held at Wayfarers Chapel, where Tuck has the chips from the experiment as his cuff links. When they climb into the limousine, it is revealed that Cowboy is the driver and Margaret and Scrimshaw are hiding in the trunk, inside a suitcase. Now confident and in control of his life, Jack recognizes the Cowboy and jumps into Tuck's vintage Mustang, pursuing the limousine to rescue the newlyweds.



Box office and reception[edit]

The movie had a positive reception.[2][3] Currently, the review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 81% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 36 reviews, with an average score of 6.6/10 and the critical consensus: "A manic, overstuffed blend of sci-fi, comedy and romance, Innerspace nonetheless charms, thanks to Martin Short's fine performance and the insistent zaniness of the plot."[4]


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