Main problem with this mildly entertaining special effects showcase proves as transparent as its title character - namely that Chevy Chase, who can only play Chevy Chase, lacks leading-man qualities necessary to make this sort of Hitchcockian man-in-peril scenario work. Working from H.F. Saint's well-received novel, director John Carpenter and a trio of screenwriters go the espionage route with a comedy twist, but the film fails to fully satisfy on either level.

Main problem with this mildly entertaining special effects showcase proves as transparent as its title character – namely that Chevy Chase, who can only play Chevy Chase, lacks leading-man qualities necessary to make this sort of Hitchcockian man-in-peril scenario work. Working from H.F. Saint’s well-received novel, director John Carpenter and a trio of screenwriters go the espionage route with a comedy twist, but the film fails to fully satisfy on either level.

Chase is cast as a detached stock analyst turned invisible by a freak accident, who then becomes the quarry of a ruthless government agent (Sam Neill) out to exploit his unique gift for the CIA. The story plays as a cat-and-mouse game as Chase flees from his pursuers, in the process receiving help from a woman (Daryl Hannah) he met and became instantly enamored with just prior to the optical mishap.

Film departs from past explorations of the subject in two specific areas: the hero’s clothes are rendered invisible as well, meaning he doesn’t have to run about in the nude like cinematic predecessor Claude Rains; and anything he ingests stays visible within him, creating the rare opportunity at one point to see an invisible man upchuck.

Hannah is asked to do little but look beautiful, and she obliges admirably. Neill and Michael McKean are notably underemployed as the one-dimensional bad guy and Chase’s best friend.

Memoirs of an Invisible Man

Production

Warner/Cornelius. Director John Carpenter; Producer Bruce Bodner, Dan Kolsrud; Screenplay Robert Collector, Dana Olsen, William Goldman; Camera William A. Fraker; Editor Marion Rothman; Music Shirley Walker; Art Director Lawrence G. Paull

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1992. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Chevy Chase Daryl Hannah Sam Neill Michael McKean Stephen Tobolowsky Jim Norton
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