Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Review: Baby Geniuses (1999)

Director: Bob Clark
Starring: Nobody who will look back on this with any fondness

Back at the drawing board, the devil-horned film executives stroke their oddly pointed beards…”What can we come up with next to drain the American – and thus rest of the world – populous of their hard earned cash and continue destroying the integrity of the film industry? How about we create a movie about…babies, babies that can talk to one another, and know all the secrets of the universe? Nah, that would be stooping too low even for us. Toss it in the garbage. We’ll just make a Halloween movie with Busta Rhymes instead.”

Little did they know, however, that a mutated slime monster from below the Earth named Bob Clark would find the aborted script and fuse it into his own body, thus creating the horrendous viral mockery of cinema that can only be dubbed Baby Geniuses.

The movie starts off with some secret agents wearing black suits running around in a maze chasing, apparently, an escaped prisoner of some kind. There are even helicopters in the sky, denoting how important this scenario is. Then we see a small child with curly brown hair wandering out through the maze as well. Hey, director Bob Clark! Someone let their kid onto the set again! Come get him before they trample him!

No, if you can believe it, this is the movie’s gimmick. This whole team of guys is out looking for this one little kid, because – get this; hold onto your seats – he’s been genetically enhanced somehow to be super smart and apparently super strong as well. Yes, this must be the worst and most humiliating day of many of these guys’ lives as they literally get their asses handed to them by a toddler in a diaper. They have guns and a ton of manpower and everything, but nope, this kid gets the better of them. They manage to capture him in the end though, and they put him back in their secret lab, which is literally labeled ‘secret lab’ on their computers, because…I guess they figured it would be too obvious if they made a Facebook page for it.

Yes, this little tyke is named Sly, and we soon see that he can talk to the other little children at the research lab through some incredibly fake looking superimposed lips in a language all their own. Their dialogue is so stupid that I’d rather listen to a power drill for an hour and a half:

Sly: We have to use our secret weapon.
Basil: And what's that?
Sly: Duby - What's the one thing grown-ups fear most about us babies?
Duby: Dirty Diapers!
Sly: You're wrong!
Duby: Well they make those stupid faces when they change our diapers!
Sly: Its our Intelligence everyone, Our Intelligence... Dirty Diapers... that's funny though.

Apparently before age two…okay, hold on. I can’t write this. I honestly fear I will get stupider if I write this next part. Give me a second.

Okay, let’s just get it over with in one shot, like taking really bitter medicine: Before age two, babies actually know all the secrets of the universe and can communicate them with one another in a highly complex language. Then after age two they ‘cross over’ and lose all the knowledge they had.

…this is probably one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard in any movie I’ve literally ever watched, but for the sake of brevity, I’m not going to rant about it. Nope, I’m just going to…skip over that rant, because I’m still not quite over Exorcist II yet and don’t feel like getting worked up over this crap. Instead, I just have one question: if these kids are supposed to be babies, like little babies, then why do they all look like five year olds instead of one year olds? Just look at this. I don’t know who they thought they were going to fool, but it’s like they shot themselves in the foot with their own ridiculous plot device! The kids aren’t able to communicate and know the universe’s secrets anymore after age two, but look at these kids! They’re at least three or four at the latest! Come on, at least give us a little bit of consistency!

Oh yeah, and the assistant scientist is played by Christopher Lloyd. Wow. For some reason I get the idea he won’t be listing this in his acting resume in the future!

Okay, so we see two parents played by Kim Cattrall and Peter MacNicol, who are the unknowing foster parents of Sly’s secret twin brother Whit. They’re attending a banquet for the opening of an indoor theme park run by BabyCo., the company that is doing all those secret experiments on babies that we saw in the opening. The leader of this corporation is Elena Kindle, who is Cattrall’s aunt and who literally just comes out and says, “We are dedicated to proving that babies have a language of their own.” Wow. Just…wow. I can’t even make a joke about something that silly.

Also, tell me this isn’t going to show up in your nightmares tonight, I dare you:

People let their child go near that? That's not funny that's disturbing as hell.

So after a pointless sequence showing us the random amusement park attractions we’ll never see again, we go back to MacNicol’s house where we see a random bus driver played by Dom DeLuise and a random nurse…babysitter…maid lady too. Why are they there? I don’t know. Why is this kid there?

I don’t know. Guess what the key word is? RANDOM! Try actually defining your characters next time, guys!

So then we see exactly what the intelligence of little Whit is. Dom DeLuise asks him to hand him the hammer to fix the sink, and Whit tosses the hammer right on his balls. That’s great, kid; really great. You…probably just damaged the man for life, but HUH HUH HUH, at least it’s funny!

Then Sly, after at least five or six more attempts, actually manages to escape from BabyCo and go out into the world. He for some reason switches clothes with a little girl…that’s pretty friggin’ weird…and gets into a mall to try on some different clothes. He dresses up in all kinds of ridiculous costumes that your parents would show your girlfriend to embarrass you before your prom night, and even does a dance number, because I guess this movie needed some more fodder for the trailer.

Oh yeah he's a regular dance floor veteran, this kid right here.

Somehow, without any rational explanation, Sly and Whit coincidentally get mixed up the next day while crawling around in a playpen and wearing clothes that are almost identical. Of course first we get some shots of Sly beating up these wonderfully competent bodyguards trying to catch him again…because that’s not old by now…but then we see exactly how serious Christopher Lloyd is about his work. He looks into that wide-angle lens shot at Whit and says, “You’re interfering with our great work!”

"Marty! We need to go back in time and slap me for taking this goddamn role!"

Well, great work, then! I had no idea! Seriously, shut up you hack, you can talk after you stop getting outsmarted by a little boy who still isn’t out of the diaper stage yet. You’re being upstaged by the unfunny version of the Rugrats, for Pete’s sake. You have no place to act self-righteous at all. How did you even go from making a time-traveling DeLorean to working on super smart babies anyway? You’re breaking my heart here, Mr. Lloyd! You’re breaking my heart!

By the way, this is the real reason that recession happened in 2008. Because the government was spending all their money doing stupid shit like…making genius babies for years and years! Doesn’t that make you proud to be an American?

So apparently, and take notes here, MacNicol can read the kids’ lips and magically understand what they’re saying in their…mystical baby-language. He talks to them in the same manner that people talked to Lassie in those old TV shows. And it’s stupid. And nobody ever thinks to question this beyond just looking at him a little funny?

We see some ridiculous shots of the parents having a diaper changing contest for no real reason, because I guess that’s just how they have fun in this world. Insipid. And then we get this joke:

Margo: Stick to your rapping Ice Shtick and leave the smart remarks to those with IQs over 40.
Dickie: It's not rap, it's mantras.
Margo: I was chanting mantras before you were born.
Dickie: [pause] You were chanting mantras before Buddha was born.
Margo: That's pretty good, Dickie, that's pretty good.

No, no it is not. Please go shoot yourselves. Both of you.

Oh, and there’s also some crap in there where apparently Sly and the other kids hypnotize Dom DeLuise and Dickface, or whatever his name is, to pick their noses and roll their tongues around.


Elena stages a plan to move all the babies to Lichtenstein after just one experiment doesn’t work out, and we see Sly mobilizing the forces of all the babies he can find using psychic powers that he apparently has. God…I’m getting dumber as I type these words, just thinking about this again. Elena tries to kidnap the babies but is foiled by Sly and his…weird army of psychic babies that he trained. You know, he actually mobilizes weapons to attack these guys on the ground. That’s not funny and charming, you guys. That’s actively scary. What’s he going to be like when he gets older?

Eugh. So we see Elena taking personal pride in her victory over these little toddlers, because…I guess she’s not getting laid at all. Or something. Seriously, lady, they’re still just little kids at the end of the day. You look more like a bully than anything. But wait! We have an angry mother coming out to beat the ever-loving daylights out of this wannabe Cruelle DeVille, and saving the day once and for all!

Baby Geniuses…holy hell, where do I even start? Oh, right. THE PLOT IS FRIGGIN’ STUPID. I mean come on! Babies know all the secrets of the universe? Like hell! Even the movie can’t even convince itself of that, since we never see or hear any of these supposed ‘secrets’ coming out of those babies’ mouths! And how are we supposed to believe for even one second that these kids can constantly outsmart all the adults working at these super-secret, high tech scientific facilities…

You know what? Screw it. I’m not even going to bother. Because you know how the old saying goes, anyone who tries to argue with a retarded film like Baby Geniuses is no better themselves. Or…or something like that.

P.S., support the March of Dimes and help improve infant health! Just click below: