Friday, March 05, 2004

I've been dilligently working on a bad movie review for Purple Rain, but who knows how long that will take me, so I decided to do a "mini" review on another one that Marcus and I watched, The Incredible Shrinking Woman.

First of all, this is a movie that I saw when I was around 8 years old. I remember watching it at my friend Lisa Doerr's house--her parents had a Betamax, or, as I excitedly told my mom, "one of those things where you can watch a movie anytime you want!" (I was so up on technology, even then). There were repeated viewings of this movie, along with The Black Stallion and The Wizard of Oz. I remember having a fondness for TISW--particularly due to the scene where Lily Tomlin gets to live in her daughter's dollhouse with Ken. (I used to want to shrink myself down so I could ride my model horses...Christ, I was an odd kid). Anyhoo, that and the scene where she falls down the garbage disposal (komedy!) were my favorite parts, and the only ones that stood out in my mind before Marcus and I rented this for one of our Bad Movie Nights a while back.

Seriously, though--looking at this movie twenty-some odd years later--man, does it SUCK. Lily Tomlin stars as a housewife who, due to exposure from some chemical compound in household cleaning products (or something), begins to shrink. And the wackiness ensues! Except not. This movie made no sense whatsoever, and I'm not talking about the plot, (what little of it there is). First of all, Lily Tomlin plays two characters--the housewife and the nosy neighbor. And it's not like an Eddie Murphy/Nutty Professor thing, where he plays multiple characters under heavy makeup. The difference between Lily Tomlin's housewife and Lily Tomlin's nosy neighbor is....a pair of glasses. The characters are not supposed to be related or anything, so why the dual role? The movie is full of shit like this that doesn't make any sense. All the scenes look like they were shot (on really cheap film), and just slapped together randomly. About twenty minutes in, there's a "hilarious" scene where Lily Tomlin (as the housewife), is doing dishes and gets her hands stuck to the plates with "Galaxy Glue" (which is, BTW, the big account her ad exec husband is working on. I think this was a major plot point, but I can't remember). Her kids come running in, and they all end up in a pile on the laundry room floor, as the jingle for "Galaxy Glue" plays. They roll around on the floor, stuck to one another, and the scene goes on for like 10 minutes. At this point, I turned to Marcus, confused, and asked, "What's going on here?" Marcus grimaced and said, "I think it's supposed to be a spoof on advertising, but they're not doing a very good job." The rest of the movie is about as coherent. Another "what the fuck?" moment: after Lily Tomlin shrinks, her Spanish maid (who had appeared in earlier scenes demurely dressed in school-marmish outfits, hair in a bun) suddenly begins wearing florescent tube tops and hot pants, dancing around the house to bad mariachi music. She completely changes personalities, and it's never explained! At the "funeral" for Lily Tomlin, (her family mistakenly believes she was ground up after falling in the garbage disposal, see--komedy!) the maid is back to her previous demure, school-marm threads and hair. Again, it's never explained! Lily Tomlin's family finds her again, but then she gets captured by mad scientists, or something (at the risk of sounding redundant--this movie makes no sense), and is locked in a cage with a guy in a really bad gorilla suit. She escapes, with the help of the "gorilla." Then more stuff happens, and she returns to normal size. At the very end, the process reverses itself somehow, and she begins growing. Did I mention the whole thing makes no sense? The director, the "esteemed" Joel Schumacher (who went on to direct other instant classics like D.C. Cab, St. Elmo's Fire, and Dying Young), was either on some serious psychotropic drugs, or suffering from ADHD. As Marcus commented during our screening of Shrinking Woman, "Joel Schumacher couldn't direct his way out of a paper bag."

I don't reccommend this film, even for a laugh. It's not a fun bad movie, like Xanadu or Six Pack. It's just bad. It may be fun to watch stoned. Then again, it may suck even worse.

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