Picks and Pans Review: Honey, I Blew Up the Kid

updated 07/27/1992 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/27/1992 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Rick Moranis, Marcia Strassman

All right, so it is The Attack of the 50-Foot Sequel. This follow-up to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is the most playfully and affably funny comedy since its progenitor, if not since the original Ghostbusters.

Moranis again plays a screwball inventor whose home (he and Strassman have moved to Nevada) is filled with Rube Goldberg-esque gadgets, while at work he is trying to perfect a laser ray designed to enlarge whatever it hits. Robert Oliveri and Amy O'Neill, the shrinking victims in the 1989 original, again play Moranis and Strassman's son and daughter. But this time Moranis accidentally zaps his 2½-year-old son, who undergoes a megagrowth spurt, expands into a 7' (going on 112') toddler and wanders off to stomp around Las Vegas in search of the ambient electricity he craves.

Directed by Randal (White Fang) Kleiser and written by Thom Eberhardt, Peter Elbling and Garry Good-row, the film profits from the one-joke premise without lapsing into lazy or tasteless variations. There isn't even one expletive-laden punch line, though Keri Russell, as a teenage baby-sitter, does look at her suddenly huge charge and mutter, "I'm not changing those diapers!"

The producers had the sense of humor and movie history to cast (as a security guard) Kenneth Tobey, the '50s horror film star. There is also a funny small part for Lloyd Bridges as a mad scientist emeritus. And Julia Sweeney, Saturday Night Life's androgynous Pat, makes an effective nosy neighbor.

All that and Moranis's copious talent for funny double takes notwithstanding, the film's focal points are Daniel and Joshua Shalikar, the 3-year-old New Jersey twins who share the role of the outsize boy. The twins are not only remarkably cute and winning, but turn in remarkable acting performances, making the most of such lines as "Mama fall down" and "No nap!"

Nothing very meaningful or surprising happens in this movie, but what does transpire is so good-natured and consistently light in tone that it's difficult to keep a smile off your face as you watch. (PG)

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