Colorless is the word that best describes this low-budget children's effort.
Mild-mannered inventor Karl Griffin (Barry Livingston) finds all his fanciful, altruistic experiments co-opted by overbearing boss Dr. Woorter (Russ Tamblyn), who declares that anything Griffin develops is the sole property of the science lab where they work. When Karl attempts an invisibility
serum, he takes the research home, away from Woorter's greedy gaze. Karl erases the family dog Cosmo from sight, and announces his success to wife Laura (Dee Wallace Stone) and son Josh (Trenton Knight). Josh has been grounded for messing up the house (actually the fault of the invisible Cosmo),
and sees the serum as a way to sneak out and have some fun with his buddies. He pours the chemical into a soda bottle, but Mrs. Griffin drinks the stuff instead. Indeed, the serum does work on humans, a theory that Karl did not want to test until he had an antidote. Now, while Laura gets
accustomed to invisibility, her husband must use the lab's computers to formulate a cure. All this is closely monitored by Woorter, who waits until Karl brews a counteractive serum. Then Woorter has Griffin arrested for the possible murder of his disappeared wife, and puts Josh in an orphanage.
The clever villain even anticipates Laura attempting a rescue. He traps and cages the Invisible Mom as his proof when he presents the serum to the US military as a way to create undetectable soldiers. Laura escapes, however, and infiltrates the inquest into her husband's sanity. Unseen Laura
pranks and pokes main accuser Woorter until he looks like a lunatic instead. Vindicated, Karl is immediately rewarded with Woorter's job. At the fadeout the happily reunited Griffins face a fresh challenge: Cosmo has lapped up Karl's new growth serum.
Harmless but bland, INVISIBLE MOM may well have been an installment in Disney's downtrending "Wayne Szalinski" series that kicked off with HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS (1989), but for the low-budget scale and painfully threadbare special effects. Props hung on wires and a novelty-shop invisible-dog
collar don't come close to James Whale's original THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933), even though this movie affectionately quotes from the Claude Rains classic. Plotting is predictable, from the entrance of a standard-issue school bully to the lame closing gag. Still, veteran actress Dee Wallace Stone
maintains her dignity in the title role, playing it surprisingly straight. Russ Tamblyn, whose roller-coaster career ranged from dancing in WEST SIDE STORY (1961) to bottomed-out freak parts in the likes of DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN (1971), also does nicely as the smug, suave bad guy. Executive
producer Andrew Stevens's own mom, actress Stella Stevens, has a (visible) supporting part as a nosy neighbor, and prolific cheapie director Fred Olen Ray does a cute bit as an unflappable cabbie. Also in the cast is actor Christopher Stone, Dee Wallace's husband and frequent co-star, as a
military man whose mild double-entendres are the only remote excuse for the PG rating. Christopher Stone died in 1995 of a heart attack, well before this film was released to cable-TV and home-video markets.
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- Released: 1997
- Rating: PG
- Review: Colorless is the word that best describes this low-budget children's effort. Mild-mannered inventor Karl Griffin (Barry Livingston) finds all his fanciful, altruistic experiments co-opted by overbearing boss Dr. Woorter (Russ Tamblyn), who declares that a… (more)