The Invisible Kid (1988) poster

The Invisible Kid (1988)


USA. 1988.


Director/Screenplay – Avery Crounse, Producer – Philip J. Spinelli, Photography – Michael Barnard, Music – Steve Hunter & Jan King, Visual Effects – Ernie Farino, Special Effects – Lou Carlucci, Makeup Design – Annie Maniscalco, Art Direction – Charles Tomlinson. Production Company – Elysian Pictures.


Jay Underwood (Grover Dunn), Chynna Phillips (Cindy Moore), Nicholas de Toth (Donny Zanders), Wally Ward (Milton McClane), Karen Black (Devora Dunn), John Madden Towey (Principal Baxter), Mike Genovese (Sergeant Chuck Malone)


Teenager Grover Dunn succeeds in replicating his late father’s experiments and creates a powder that makes the taker invisible for thirty minutes at a time. He and his best friend have fun humiliating a basketball jock and spying in the girl’s locker room. The officious Principal Baxter then determines to obtain the formula for himself. Hunted by the police, and with the formula lasting less each time he uses it, Grover must save the day by invisibly aiding the school basketball team to win the game. However, Principal Baxter has promised to rig the game for his Mafia friends.

As might be predicted from the title, The Invisible Kid is an attempt to play The Invisible Man (1933) as a teen comedy. H.G. Wells’s original 1897 story was a brilliant study in both the practical and psychological effects invisibility might present. On the other hand, The Invisible Kid uses invisibility for nothing other than a novelty teen comedy.

The film deals with what would possibly be one of the most remarkable scientific discoveries of the century but the immediate ends it puts the discovery to is to dump popcorn on the macho jock’s head and to plant a hot dog in his lap in a position resembling an erect member. There is of course the inevitable invisible man in a girl’s locker room fantasy.

The Invisible Kid is no more than a teen comedy like Meatballs (1979) or Porky’s (1982) with an invisibility gimmick. There are some appalling slapstick sequences involving a car chase sequence with invisible drivers and vehicles heading through car washes, and an extraordinarily silly climax that involves most of the cast in animal suits running in and out of a store room.

Karen Black, who is the only recognisable name in the cast other than Jay Underwood, gives an amazingly empty-headed performance as Underwood’s tv talkshow addicted mother. Chynna Phillips, who plays the love interest, later went on to become one half of the hit pop duo Wilson Phillips.

Trailer here

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