Tuck Pendleton (Dennis Quaid) is an airforce pilot. His girlfriend, Lydia (Meg Ryan), leaves him because of his drinking problem. Tuck becomes involved in a top-secret project to miniaturize humans and inject them into the human body. Tuck is the first experimental subject; he is to travel, in a tiny pod, inside the body of a lab rabbit.

This is complicated when, once Tuck and his pod have been shrunk and placed in a syringe ready for injection, the film’s villains, led by the sinister Victor Scrimshaw, break into the laboratory and steal the microchip needed to restore Tuck to his normal size. A scientist escapes with the syringe containing Tuck. Iago, Scrimshaw’s henchman, chases him and, to keep the technology out of their hands, the scientist injects Tuck into Jack Tupper (Martin Short), who just happens to be nearby.

Jack is a hypochondriac who works at a supermarket checkout. When Tuck creates a computer link-up to Jack’s vision and hearing, and speaks to him, Jack believes he has been possessed; his physician suspects a psychiatric disorder. After much anxiety, Tuck explains things, enlisting Jack to track down the villains and get the stolen microchip from them. With Lydia’s help, they thwart the villains (and reduce them to half their normal size).

After journeying inside both Jack and Lydia’s bodies (he moves from one to the other when Jack kisses Lydia), Tuck is rescued and restored to his normal size. Tuck and Lydia reconcile and marry, and Jack, given new confidence by having Tuck within him (like a macho kind of internal inspirational tape), is cured of his hypochondria and anxiety and finds a new life for himself.


An 1980s remake of Fantastic Voyage (see annotation in this data base), Innerspace takes somewhat for granted the spectacle of the body’s interior, focusing far more than its predecessor on the comic aspects of having a man inhabit the body of another man. Because the host, Jack, is awake and aware of his passenger, there is also far more interplay in this film between mind and body. Jack’s hypochondria meets its match when Tuck is able to see the source of the anxiety, the body’s insides, demystifying them and allowing Jack to focus outward for the first time.

The interior footage is visually convincing, in that the filmmakers had resources the earlier film lacked: audience familiarity with images created by medical imaging technology, and computers that permit better communication between the inside and outside of body. Video laparoscopy, for instance, first became possible in the early 1980s.

Perhaps the strongest endoscopic scene in Innerspace occurs when Tuck, traveling in Lydia’s body, discovers that she is pregnant with his child. The images of him sailing past the giant fetus strongly recall Lennart Nilsson’s 1972 collection of photographs of fetal development (a new edition of this classic, "A Child is Born," was published in 1986).

Primary Source

Warner Brothers Home Video