THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN
Though usually looked down on, the surprise is that The Incredible Shrinking Woman rings up some witty changes on The Incredible Shrinking Man and is indeed Joel Schumachers best film. The credits note that the film is only suggested by Richard Mathesons book and mentions nothing about the 1957 film, even though many scenes from the original the miniaturized person living in a dolls house, the shot showing people arguing to the back of a chair facing the camera before cutting to the chair and showing a miniature Lily Tomlin sitting on the edge have been faithfully replicated.
The Incredible Shrinking Man offered an early feminist parable of sorts in the images of Grant Williams trying to tyrannically control his wife while shrinking in size and then conducting an affair with a female dwarf until she became too big for him. This is not something screenwriters Jane Wagner and Jerry Belson are unattuned to either. In their slightly more conservative comedic revamping, Lily Tomlins plight is that she merely becomes an increasingly more harassed housewife when she loses size where Scott Carey thundered because he wanted to control his wife, she tears out her hair because she cannot control her kids, and while Scott Carey went off to have an affair with a dwarf, here her husband Charles Grodin sits reading a copy of Marriage Without Sex.
In one charmingly symbolic scene, Lily Tomlin climbs up her giant marriage bed wearing the Little Bo Peep costume that Charles Grodin brought her, only to be sent flying as he turns in his sleep and land on a skateboard that deposits her at the door of the dolls house and into the lap of a now-life-sized Ken doll whose arms takes refuge inside of after a moments shrug. Scenes have a charm the image of Lily Tomlin in a Santa suit standing inside a perfectly modeled Christmas Nativity set; the amusingly chaotic run-in with a cupboardful of childrens toys; a scene drinking champagne from a thimble where Lily Tomlin becomes increasingly more plastered every time her husband misses the thimble and drowns her in a torrent of champagne. Witty puns abound Well discuss this when you come down off your soapbox, says Charles Grodin literally during the midst of an argument with not a flicker of his face. Lily Tomlin with her sly cooings is a mocking charm, although seems anything but an average suburban housewife.
The film eventually starts to disappoint at its ending. Where The Incredible Shrinking Man segued into a remarkable half-hour where Grant Williams was forced to survive in a giant-size cellar, The Incredible Shrinking Woman sees the need to add a clumsy world takeover plot to beef up the drama and lets the ending dissipate into not-terribly-funny slapstick discord with Lily Tomlin running around with an ape and half-a-million cops. Furthermore, where the The Incredible Shrinking Mans ending was one of the great cries of existential anguish in the Atomic Age, this ends on a happy wrap-up and a slingshot ending.
The effects work, of seamless optical patches and scaled-up sets and props, is extremely clever notable is an oversized bench with a giant-sized lit and smoking cigarette, giant eggshells and even a giant hotplate with sizzling bacon strips. Rick Baker also contributes a wonderfully expressive ape suit.
Joel Schumachers other genre films are: the script for the all-Black musical Wizard of Oz revamping The Wiz (1978) and as director on the teen vampire film The Lost Boys (1987), the afterlife film Flatliners (1990), the redneck psycho film Falling Down (1993), the Batman films Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997), the snuff movie thriller 8MM (1999), the psycho-thriller Phone Booth (2002), the screen adaptation of the musical The Phantom of the Opera (2004), The Number 23 (2007) featuring a numerologically obsessed Jim Carrey and Town Creek (2009) about a Nazi vampire.