The Incredible Shrinking Woman

  • Review Date: September 21, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1981
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Excruciatingly bad Lily Tomlin comedy.
  • Review Date: September 21, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1981
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness

A tiny woman falls in a garbage disposal, is nearly ground to death.

Sexy stuff

Allusions to the sexual frustrations of being married to a tiny woman.

Language

One or two moderate curses. A cereal box's ingredients, read aloud, include "synthetic spermatozoa" and "bull scrotum."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids will hear allusions to the sexual frustrations of being married to a tiny woman. There are one or two moderate curses and some potty-mouth talk: A cereal box's ingredients, read aloud, include "synthetic spermatozoa" and "bull scrotum." The shrinking woman is in perpetual danger of being squashed or worse. She falls in a garbage disposal and is nearly ground to death.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Perfume, glue, cleansers, aerosol-propelled cheese -- so much chemical exposure takes its toll on unassuming housewife Pat Kramer (Lily Tomlin), who begins to shrink. She suspects her condition might have something to do with the products her ad exec husband (Charles Grodin) brings home but is too demure to speak out about it, even when her dwindling size makes her a world-renowned celebrity and provides her with a (very small) soap box to stand on. But sleeping in a dollhouse and the ever-present danger of being squished are only the start of Pat's problems. She's been targeted by the insidious Organization for World Management, which wants to make a serum from her blood that, when added to worldwide water supplies, will shrink all but a select few down to subservient proportions.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

How awful is THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN? Let's start with Jane Wagner's witless script, which uses elements from the sci-fi classic The Incredible Shrinking Man to say something about the plight of the suburban American housewife, the responsibility of chemical manufacturers, and the moral character of the advertising industry. But the story only begins to articulate these points before abandoning them for a fake-looking ape and yelling people slipping on banana peels. The plot generates a few madcap laughs but in general it fails to be funny or compelling. Frequent references to a married couple's sex woes are in poor taste.

Lily Tomlin and Charles Grodin never looked more bored in their lives, and the special effects are cheap and completely unconvincing. For family appeal there are a couple of loud, obnoxious kids, and some cutesy stuff with the shrinking woman living in a dollhouse and wearing doll clothes. But if this is a movie for kids, what's with the repeated allusions to the couple's unhappy sex life? What about the gratuitous reading of a cereal box's ingredients, which include "synthetic spermatozoa" and "bull scrotum"?

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about this movie's message. Do many comedies have messages? What, if anything, do you think was the filmmaker's point?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 30, 1981
DVD release date:July 13, 1994
Cast:Charles Grodin, Lily Tomlin, Ned Beatty
Director:Joel Schumacher
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:Parental Guidance Suggested

This review of The Incredible Shrinking Woman was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 November 5, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

the incredible shrinking woman

What about the gratuitous reading of a cereal box's ingredients, which include "synthetic spermatozoa" and "bull scrotum"? Families can talk about this movie's message. Do many comedies have messages? What, if anything, do you think was the filmmaker's point?
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written bypercys mom March 13, 2010
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Nothing but a silly movie

It is an old comedy. Set your expectations at crude slapstick. It is just silly funny, nothing more, nothing less. Kids think it is silly. There isn't anything educational or to gain. Again, it is just a big joke.

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