HONEY, WE SHRUNK OURSELVES demonstrates the law of diminishing returns in more ways than one. After the surprise theatrical hits HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS (1989) and its big-budget followup HONEY, I BLEW UP THE KID (1992), the Disney studio fashioned this wan reprise for the
The notorious shrinking/expanding laser created by nebbish inventor Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis) has been banned by federal law. Szalinski has stowed the laser away in his attic, but he and brother Gordon (Stuart Pankin) mischievously reactivate the device when Wayne's wife, Diane (Eve Gordon),
demands he dispose of a tall, tacky Tiki totem Wayne inexplicably cherished after buying it from a golf course. Wayne's scheme to shrink and hide the objet d'art succeeds too well; the ray shrinks Wayne and Gordon too, and, firing automatically, zaps the next people to enter the attic, Mrs.
Szalinski and sister-in-law Patty (Robin Bartlett).
Now the house presents a vast and perilous obstacle course for the Szalinskis as they strive to get downstairs and seek help from their children. The kids, meanwhile, aren't at all surprised by the grownups' disappearance; the adults were leaving for a trip anyway. Adam Szalinski (Bug Hall) takes
the opportunity to throw a highly unauthorized house party, while Jenny (Allison Mack) invites friends for a sleepover, unaware that their parents are, literally, underfoot. When not fleeing for his life, Wayne is shocked to hear that his son resents being pushed to attend science-computer camps,
while Gordon and Patty watch helplessly as their vitamin-deficient boy, Mitch (Jake Richardson), tries to skip his hated daily pills and passes out. Fortunately, Jenny and Adam revive their cousin. During the party, both Adam and Jenny surprise their folks by standing up to some gate-crashing
bullies, but it takes the Szalinski men, rewiring the family stereo from the inside, to produce the menacing voice of "God" that scares away the interlopers. Communicating to their offspring through the speakers, Wayne talks them through restoring the adults to their rightful heights. Now, the
elder Szalinskis have a better understanding and respect for their children.
A chronic problem with this series has been a domestic-sitcom sensibility dictating that kids, shrunk or otherwise, be sassy and precocious, while parents are nitwits and buffoons (an exception was Marcia Strassman, the original Mrs. Szalinski, who played her part refreshingly straight). This is
the third time the emotionally clueless Wayne Szalinski has learned banal lessons about Being a Better Father through a calamity with his laser. While HONEY, I BLEW UP THE KID at least had the novelty of inverting the miniaturization gimmick, there's little here as inspired or original. In HONEY,
I SHRUNK THE KIDS, the dwindled Szalinski children tangled with a nasty scorpion and a friendly ant; this sequel substitutes a hissing cockroach and a benign daddy longlegs (both stop-motion animated). In the first film, son Nick Szalinski, a character written out of this entry, was nearly
devoured by Wayne after falling into a bowl of cereal; now Wayne and Gordon face exactly the same fate in a container of sour cream. There is a fetchingly whimsical visual in which the tiny adults float through the house, each inside a soap bubble, and the special effects in general are excellent,
but the vital sense of wonder is largely lost in the small-screen medium. Still, granted the nature of the material, one could hardly blame Disney for the video downsizing--this installment of the series was budgeted at $7 million, as opposed to the preceding entry, which was made for $40 million.
Not trying harder is another matter. Director Dean Cundey earlier did "Honey, We Shrunk the Audience," a 3-D short exhibited at Disney theme parks, and subsequent plans were for the next logical downward step--turning the HONEY franchise into a TV series.
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- Released: 1997
- Rating: PG
- Review: HONEY, WE SHRUNK OURSELVES demonstrates the law of diminishing returns in more ways than one. After the surprise theatrical hits HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS (1989) and its big-budget followup HONEY, I BLEW UP THE KID (1992), the Disney studio fashioned this w… (more)