Going in to the movie Baby Geniuses, I tried to reassure myself that the movie couldn’t nearly be as bad as its premise makes it seem. After all, some good talent (Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd, Dom DeLuise) is attached, and the idea of intelligent talking babies could be cute… Boy, was I wrong!
Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, young babies are actually geniuses. Children are born knowing all the secrets of the universe, and communicate in their own “pre-language” (which sounds exactly like babbling to grown-ups), though they can read and understand every other spoken language. At the age of two or so, the babies “cross over”, forgetting everything they once knew.
The evil day care scientist Elena (Kathleen Turner) suspects this, mainly by stealing ideas from Dan (Peter MacNicol), the husband of her niece, Robin (Kim Catrall). Elena, with the help her henchman, Heep (Christopher Lloyd), has been running secret tests on babies and toddlers in the hopes of cultivating the world’s next batch of geniuses.
As part of her evil plans, Elena has separated two identical twins: Sly and Witt (played by Leo, Myles and Gerry Fitzgerald). Sly has been raised in her underground “Kinder” bunker with a batch of proto-geniuses. Witt, on the other hand, is being raised by the unwitting Robin and Dan. But Sly is difficult to keep in captivity. The smartest kid in the world, he is capable of building sophisticated electronics out of the simplest legos, and before you know it, he is on his way to explore the real world.
The technology used to make the children talk, perform karate, and so on is actually fairly good…about the only good thing that exists the movie. However, no matter how good the means are, there’s no justification for the ends. The supposedly “intelligent” babies making juvenile wisecracks is one thing…when they start disco dancing, you’ll start praying for that coma to strike.
The flimsy plot is merely an excuse to go from one overly “cute” scene to another even more so. I’ll admit it, the first few giggling, talking babies are a little cute…but by giggling baby shot #503 the prospect becomes simply terrifying. An idea which would have been excessively cloying in a mere television commercial is practically numbing when seen on the big screen. However, the experience is so painful that you’ll wish it provided full anasthesia.
Whatever happened to Kathleen Turner? She hasn’t made a decent film in ten years…and Baby Geniuses is certainly no exception. The only thing she has going for her in this film is that she’s the villain. Any enemy of those babies must be a friend, even if she’s a friend with a one-note monotonous performance.
This is a film so completely bankrupt of ideas that the last few minutes are composed entirely of short clips from elsewhere in the film…as if anyone would want to relive this travesty, even in the form of bite-sized none sequiturs. Why couldn’t they have simply ended the film a bit earlier and given the unfortunate few who stayed during the whole film a tiny bit of their lives back?
For those of you tempted to see this movie, just pop in your Ally McBeal “Dancing Baby” videotape, and thank me later.