Friday 22 August 2014

IMDb Bottom 100 Review – Number 75 Baby Geniuses

Talking babies, former B-list celebs gone bad and did I mention talking babies? Also the babies are somehow geniuses. If you think you're somewhat off the deep end, I don't blame you. I passed the deep end months ago. Resignation in suicide sounds pretty appealing right about now. But alas, I have a commitment to fulfill. So instead, I get to review...

That fucking kid. Look at him. No really... isn't he the most annoying kid you've ever seen?

This one is one for the books, you guys. It's a quarter into this whole Bottom100 project, some 8 months of almost weekly reviews for your reading pleasure. I'm still sane. I'm still going strong, but I won't deny that it has taken its toll on me. My Frisbee-golf handicap team lost the Championship because I neglected practice, and my volunteering as a waiter at the retired screenwriters bi-annual ball was rejected for the first time in almost 1 year. I guess they were scared I'd get into a kerfuffle with a few of the older scruffier writers over my B100 shenanigans. It is what it is, as somebody probably rightly said once. Incidentally the same could be said for this film. We've moved through classics such as Troll 2, .Com for Murder, It's Pat, Barney's Great Adventure and last week it was that German cocksmuggler Ulli Lommel's turn through the reviewing machinery. It brings us neatly to this film that I've dreaded for quite a while. Bonus info: this movie is partly responsible for me starting this whole blog thing to begin with. It is the first movie in the series about Baby Geniuses, and the sequel to this flick is at the top spot of this list (we'll get to that in about a year and a half). I remember looking at Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 thinking 'Oh my good God in Heaven, what the hell is going on?'. Much later I decided I should take it upon myself to watch 100 extremely shitty movies, and churn out a solid 1600 word review of each of them. Joke's on me, I guess. Oh well!

Talking babies are seriously annoying, but this guy... he almost takes the cake. I can't even...

I'm getting ahead of myself here. We're looking at the very first Baby Geniuses flick. In it, evil scientists are holding super intelligent babies captive. The babies can talk to each other, but grown ups only perceive baby talk. So that's happening. Alright. There is some crazy mishap, that causes the babies to escape, and join society. Look, the story is abnormally incomprehensible here, because, let's be honest, talking babies. It kind of sets a precedence. Bumbling doofus Dan, played by classic 'oh it's... that guy' actor Peter MacNicol (a name I will have forgotten in 10 minutes) has somehow managed to marry Kim Cattrall's Robin, and they run a daycare together. The babies spot Dan and Robin at some kind of fare, and for some reason this both enables them to, and gives them reason to escape. I don't understand why. Perhaps the babies aren't just intelligent, but actually have superhuman perception. The movie doesn't quite delve into this particular subplot, so I suppose I'll just leave it at that. They want to be normal kids, anyhow, and not science experiments. I can't say I blame them. But I also can't say I blame everybody else for wanting them locked up. Because they are hella annoying.

No no no no no no no no no. NO. Not cool. Not OK. Nope. Not in the slightest.

So it's back and forth between this daycare, where a typically jolly Dom DeLuise also spent his days as an equally bumbling handy man, providing some unfunny, yet needed, comic relief, and the science experiment theater. I'm unsure if we're supposed to believe that the babies slip out every night and visit the daycare or something. But they end up a steady part of the daycare baby roster, and of course this causes quite the commotion for the possibly evil scientists. I say possibly, because keeping babies locked up for science doesn't seem like something good wholesome people would do. On the flipside, the babies seem to be pretty well cared for, and the purpose of keeping them locked up isn't immediately apparent. So there's that. But anyway, the two main scientists really lay into Dan and Robin, and a really unsurprising and unexciting but inevitable climax finishes off this travesty with rather a tepid flourish.

How could we have let this happen? YOU WERE DOC BROWN! You were Doc Brown...

I'm not a fan of this movie. Yes yes, me saying that is pretty redundant at this point, but this one was particularly crappy. I'm not a big fan of kids in movies. It's hard to pull off, without the kid just being annoying. Babies are even harder. And talking babies, especially where their mouthes move and everything, is damn near impossible. In fact, I can't recall a single instance where it's been successfully pulled off. Perhaps I didn't think too hard about it, but I have a feeling I'd easily remember a movie where there was a baby talking with synchronized lips that didn't immediately make me want to punch the screen in despair. I think one of the things about this movie that really annoys me, like irrationally so, is that it features Kathleen Turner and Christopher Lloyd. Lloyd, of course, known and loved, as Doc Brown in Back to the Future and lesser so for the role of Fester in the Addams Family movies. Even lesser so from Forman's Cuckoo's Nest and of course the long running sitcom Taxi. Anyway, his gold star is ever high flying to me, so for the fuckers behind Baby Geniuses to, no doubt, blackmail him to appear in their shitty production is blatant disregard for everything I hold dear. Yes. Everything. The only mitigating factor is, that he looks uncomfortable, forcing me to believe somebody is pointing a gun at him off camera. Turner may not have had the biggest career of the lot, but she is firmly lodged in our pop cultural hive mind with a memorable performance in those jewel of the Nile movies. And also in a surprising turn as Chandler's dad in Friends. Even still. I guess money is ever the modus operandi here. Dammit.

Dramatic possible ending. Kathleen takes a beating, apparently. By somebody dressing pretty casually.

The production value of this flick is, I suppose it's only fair to say, higher than most of the b100 misfits I get to sit through. The story is mostly poo, and bringing in a little talent lends ill deserved credibility to the whole debacle. Even if they are kind of b-listers. Yes, Christopher Lloyd, I said it. B-lister. Doesn't mean you weren't awesome as Doc. But you never really took it to the next level. The effect shit they used on those babies faces annoyed me. I mean it kinda looked like they were actually talking, but since we know that isn't the case, it just comes off as insanely lame. Like mind numbingly stupid. And the fact that the whole movie is built up around this concept just leaves me violently screaming in my head. Mostly the sets and whatnot are standard family movie shit. Like the lab with the babies obviously have to be ultra futuristic, so the audience don't have a pico second of doubt as to where we are and what's going on. And because they are evil scientists, it's dark and gloomy, but still family friendly. Then we have the daycare house, where, big surprise, everybody are jovially dressed, Dom DeLuise makes not so hilarious jokes in a pair of overalls and an ill fitting cap, and there are clothes everywhere because kids. That part is actually true, but still... I see that in real life everyday (I'm 6 years old. I live next to a power plant), I don't need it in my entertainment too! (note I used the word entertainment ironically).

This fucking guy again. What is his deal? She should just have him put down. Nothing good can come of this. 

Overall, this movie is just good old fashioned bad. It's kind of along the lines of 3 Ninjas at the highest of nooningtons, only instead of semi-annoying brothers we are treated to talking babies. Yeah, I can't emphasize just how shitty a concept that actually is. Babies that communicate in adult voices. It was cute when Bruce Willis did it. It's not cute now. Another case of 'how did this get greenlit'. But since there are like fifty sequels, I am going to have to assume it made money. Probably DVD sales for parents who don't care if their kids watch sub-par entertainment that may very well lead to them being either Hollywood c-list producers or lifelong addicts to prescription Tylenol. Can you imagine going out and buying this DVD, returning home with a smile on your face expecting the funsies to kick in at any point. As as you watch Kathleen and Christpher and Dom and those other people, and talking babies, you slowly realize how cruel and unforgiving the world can be. And just before you call your lawyer to finalize your will, it's over. 97 minutes of your life, you could've wasted banging your little toe into the corner of the dresser over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.  


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