Memoirs of an Invisible Man

Memoirs of an Invisible Man

1992 Directed by John Carpenter. Starring Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill, Michael McKean, Stephen Tobolowsky.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Feb. 28, 1992

The question I have about Memoirs of an Invisible Man is this: why would anyone choose to make this story if they didn't have an interesting take on invisibility and its unique narrative/visual potential? I mean, the invisible stuff looks alright -- the special effects feature the most up-to-the-minute flash and dazzle that the Industrial Light and Magic gang has to offer -- but it plays like someone forgot to plug in the power cord; in other words, no sparks or electricity. Another question I have is: who can explain what happened to director John Carpenter who burst on the scene with such smart, savvy and stylish early films like Dark Star, Assault on Precinct 13 and Halloween, only to wind up helming uninspired piecework like this? The rest of his career has been so spotty, dotted with glimpses of grandeur and buckets of mediocrity and Invisible Man falls into the latter category. The movie has so little going for it -- no arresting narrative, disturbing logical lapses, bland characters that defy audience involvement and yes, even a couple of vomit jokes. Chase's pale ghost routine of The Man Who Would be Cary Grant is upstaged by Neill's engagingly villainous rendition of what could pass for a young James Mason. Then there's the old stand-by question of why Chase's film career has been so lackluster. But asking that question presupposes a level of interest and concern in the matter; so let's move right ahead. Here's my final question: why didn't someone tell Daryl Hannah to wear a slip under those sheer skirts?

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More John Carpenter
And on Keyboards, John Carpenter!
And on Keyboards, John Carpenter!
Horror master successfully re-tunes his career

Richard Whittaker, June 24, 2016

John Carpenter, Rock Star
John Carpenter, Rock Star
Filmmaker as synth-pop pioneer horrifies the Moody Theater June 23

Raoul Hernandez, June 15, 2016

More John Carpenter Films
The Thing
...

Oct. 22, 2002

Dark Star
...

Marjorie Baumgarten, Nov. 1, 2001

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Sound Unseen Review: <i>Stardust</i>
Sound Unseen Review: Stardust
The birth of Bowie the icon retold with more glimmer than glitter

Nov. 16, 2020

Damnation
Béla Tarr's turning point drama lovingly and bleakly restored

Nov. 13, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Memoirs of an Invisible Man, John Carpenter, Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill, Michael McKean, Stephen Tobolowsky

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle