Plot: Nick (Chevy Chase) is a hapless yuppie who winds up in the wrong place at the wrong time, when a government experiment goes haywire and he is rendered invisible in the process. This is bad news in general, but especially since he was on the verge of a date with the beautiful Alice (Daryl Hannah) and that romance seems to have been nipped before it could begin. In the wake of the experiment’s chaotic results, Nick is also targeted by David Jenkins (Sam Neill), who is thrilled with how things turned out and can imagine the benefits of an invisible secret agent. As Nick tries to cope with his new state of being, he tries to balance keeping his bond with Alice intact and staying a step ahead of Jenkins, which is no small task.
Entertainment Value: This movie has a colorful production narrative, with Ivan Reitman leaving the shoot after a clash with Chevy Chase, which led to John Carpenter taking over director’s duties. I think the unrest of the production is evident on screen, as the movie feels inconsistent and disjointed, trapped somewhere between a drama and a comic adventure. Memoirs of an Invisible Man is unable to master that balance, so the drama feels forced and the humor often falls flat, especially in terms of Chase’s overly serious, odd performance. The tonal issues wouldn’t be a problem if the movie was fun or interesting, but it brings little to the invisible man concept that we haven’t seen, save for an invisible vomit session, which was a fun touch. The pace is often quite slow and there’s some neat special effects at times, but not enough effects or interesting story elements to keep you hooked in. So the movie is dull in some stretches and even when it picks up, it isn’t that much fun. I think Memoirs of an Invisible Man is best treated as a curio or a chance to see an uneven, but dramatic effort from Chase, as otherwise, it is a rather forgettable experience.
I appreciate rolling the dice on Chevy Chase as the film’s serious lead, but it just doesn’t pan out. He retains part of his offbeat charm, but is unable to unleash his comic talents and at the same time, struggles with the movie’s uneven tone. His performance never settles into a groove and to be honest, someone with even slightly more dramatic skill could have made this a little better. Not that much better, as the material is clunky and would likely limit most performers, but Chase just seems out of his element and flounders here. But I do think his scenes with Daryl Hannah work well, as the two share some solid chemistry and their interactions prove to be some of the movie’s more effective moments. Hannah displays a lot of charm as the romantic interest, while Sam Neill is competent, but forgettable as the government villain. The mediocre turns are more due to the script than the actors, however. The cast also includes Patricia Heaton, Michael McKean, and Stephen Tobolowsky.
The Disc: Scream Factory’s Blu-ray boasts a new 2k scan and the movie has never looked better on home video, with a clean and clear presentation. The scan looks great, aside from some mild digital noise at times and the detail level is rock solid, while contrast is nearly flawless. Fans are certain to be thrilled here and the old DVDs can be safely retired in favor of this disc. The disc’s extras include a brief look at the special effects, five minutes of archival interviews, a short behind the scenes piece, some outtakes, tv spots, and the film’s theatrical trailer.