Honestly, I've always thought it was the weirdest narrative mix. What you have with Science Fiction -- true and legitimate SciFi stuff -- is a cerebral leaning, one that occasionally requires the viewer to actively think about what's happened along with what has already transpired while keeping an eye on what could come next. And then you have Comedy, which for all intents and purposes is the crystal clear demonstration of 'in the moment' that we have as a culture. Yes, I'll agree that sometimes it requires a bit of cognitive work to make a joke work, but generally speaking it's an instant response -- an instant gratification, if you will -- so having these two genres blend together seamlessly doesn't happen all that often.
And -- bear with me -- it gets even harder when you're blending layers of comedy. For example, there are several types of comedy. There's a spoken word joke or flippant observation. There's the vulgar and crude variety that tends to produce more moans and groans than anything else. There's puns. There's body comedy -- humor that requires a bit of slapstick and/or farce in movement and gesture. What the very youngest among us find funny isn't always the case as we age -- hence, we do tend to lose a fondness for cartoons as we get a bit long in the tooth -- and incorporating this into more thoughtful and/or thought-based fare is truly tricky stuff.
Despite some of Martin Short's antics, the family-friendly Innerspace succeeds all on its own. (If you missed it, I'm not much of a fan of physical comedy. Don't hate it. Just don't love it all that much.)
Of course, it helps when you have something that's so headily grounded in its SciFi/Fantasy aspect: things like miniaturization and the 'race against time' have long been staples for genre entries, and Innerspace pairs a reasonably stoic, adult, and mature Dennis Quaid as the heroic traveller opposite Short ... so perhaps opposites do attract? The two work exceedingly well off of one another -- Quaid's 'Lt. Tuck Pendleton' very quickly surmises that Short's 'Jack Putter' may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but the man is all he has, all he can rely on, so they're in it to win it until the moment of resolution, Tuck is freed, the girl gets kissed, and a good time was had by all.
In case you missed it, the Joe Dante directed film turns an incredible thirty-five years young on this day in Science Fiction History. So pass it on -- or pass it around -- and tell all your friends about it if you've seen it. Maybe even give it another view so you can see how well it's held up after all this time, and I suspect you'll be as surprised as I am with respect to that effective longevity.
As always, thanks for reading ... and live long and prosper!