Picks and Pans Review: Memoirs of An Invisible Man
updated 03/09/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 03/09/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST
My name's Nick Halloway. I'm not sick, I'm not crazy—but I am invisible."
In this way everyone's favorite fall guy, Chase, announces that the deuces are transparently wild in this slick, if slightly wayward, comic melodrama. Chase plays a San Francisco stock analyst who meets a beautiful documentary filmmaker (Hannah) and tumbles so thoroughly that he gets piebald drunk when she slips away to a previous engagement. Next morning, dreadfully hung over at a big-league presentation at Magnascopics Research Laboratories, he sneaks off to the men's room for a catnap. Sure enough, he causes an accident en route which sets off a cyclotron which in turn clears the building and renders its only remaining inhabitant, the snoozing Chase, invisible.
That makes him, reckons the rogue CIA agent (Sam Neill) who is controlling Magnascopics' experiments, "the single most exotic intelligence asset on the planet."
So the chase for Chase is on. Now we see him, now we don't, with a few inconsistencies: Sometimes his clothing is visible while his body is not; sometimes both are invisible but objects he holds (like a gun) can be seen. For the most part, though, everything is blithely orchestrated by thrill-master John Carpenter (Halloween, Starman). Though not completely sure of his own footing here—Memoirs lacks the moral seriousness that gave the great comedy-melodramas (Stalag 17, The Apartment) their razor edge—Carpenter manages to conspire nimbly enough with Chase's fabled blundering to produce some funny moments: Chase trying to eat Chinese food when he can't see his hands, or working a ventriloquist routine with a drunk in the backseat of a cab.
Chase is in his old Saturday Night Live milieu, and he makes the best of it to keep the audience tuned in through a long, one-note joke. Hannah, all long legs and luscious lips and flowing blond locks, seems destined to play forever a mermaid who has graduated from Bennington, but she plays it quite fetchingly. Best performance, though, goes to Neill, who has inherited the velvet mantle of the suave villain cut so elegantly many moon-dark nights ago by James Mason. (PG-13)