Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 94 minutes
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You know, usually I expect the studios to dump all their cinematic turds in January but, man, it’s March already and I’m still sitting through this stuff. Dr. Elena Kinder (Kathleen Turner) is the chief executive of the world’s largest manufacturer of baby products, BABYCO. The company funds orphanages across the world but runs a secret research program deep beneath the corporate campus devoted to decrypting the language that babies speak. It’s believed all babies are born with complete knowledge of the secrets of the universe and the ability to speak to each other in an ancient language. Around the time infants turn two years old, they lose this knowledge as they bond with adults.
Dr. Kinder has culled only the smartest babies from her orphanages to be raised in a special development program in her secret lab. As a test of developmental progress, she has separated a pair of twins, Sly and Witt. While Sly is raised within the lab, Witt has been adopted by Kinder’s neice and her husband who run an old-fashioned day care and child research center. Sly manages to escape. While eluding Kinder’s henchmen, Sly stumbles across Witt, who is promptly mistaken for Sly and taken away. Meanwhile, Sly goes with his new mother. The two boys, who develop an empathic link, must find each other and free the children from the research center before Dr. Kinder can smuggle them out of the country. Hilarity ensues.
Well, this movie wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It’s still not that good though. This gem was directed by Bob Clark, a journeyman director with one of the oddest group of credits around. He directed “Porky’s”, “A Christmas Story” (yes, the one you watch every X-Mas with the air rifle that could put an eye out), “Rhinestone”, and “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things”. He hasn’t done a studio picture in a while but what possessed him to do this one, I can only imagine. The central gimmick to this one is using CG manipulation to make the army of infants talk when they’re communicating with each other. If you’ve ever babysat one baby, think about directing a dozen in the same scene. Personally, I think every film school should require a class where the wannabe directors have to direct small children. After a couple of days spent getting a single scene, it’s the only way to learn patience with actors.
The big problem here is the apparent need to make this a family friendly film. If a few of the children had streaks of pure evil, it would have been more fun. Otherwise, if you’re over the age of five, it’s not a lot of fun after the tenth time you’ve heard the term, “diaper gravy”.
Posted on March 15, 1999 in Reviews by Ron Wells
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