March 02, 1981 12:00 PM

Lily Tomlin finally hits her big-screen potential in a farce that reduces her to the size of a figure on a portable TV set. As a suburban housewife shrunken by overusing products like a feminine hygiene spray that also kills cockroaches, the thumb-sized Tomlin soon becomes a media event and a nervous wreck. “To my family I’m a doll, to my dog a chewstick,” she groans. Her hubby, tersely underplayed by Charles Grodin, starts reading “Marriage without Sex” manuals and her kids hawk tickets to gawk at Mom. Enter the bad guys—Ned Beatty, Henry Gibson, John Glover—with plans to kidnap Lily and shrink the world. Enter, too, a laboratory Gorilla named Sidney, a worthy rival for Yoda in the cuddly creature department. The effects are dazzling, as Lily is tossed down a garbage disposal, carted off in a grocery bag and nearly drowned by a doll that wets. Smaller moments are nicely realized too. Clad in a pink negligee, Lily tries to embrace her sleeping husband, only to be whooshed away by air escaping his pillow. Satire is seldom as pointed or poignantly funny. Credit Jane Wagner’s lively script and director Joel Schumacher’s unerring pace. For the film’s heart, thank Tomlin—a giant, unshrinkable talent. (PG)

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