A 1999 action/comedy directed by Bob Clark
and starring Who Framed Roger Rabbit's
Kathleen Turner and Christopher Lloyd
. Dr. Elena Kinder, CEO of the Babyco corporation, has formulated a method of child rearing (the Kinder method) meant to produce exceptionally intelligent children. To demonstrate its superiority, she arranged for a pair of identical twin boys to be born to a surrogate mother. One of these twins, Whit, was adopted by Dr. Kinder's niece, Robin (Kim Cattrall), and raised as a normal child. The other, Sylvester (nicknamed Sly), was raised in a habitat in Babyco's secret lab, under the guidance of the Kinder method, along with a few other babies. The movie also establishes that babies have their own language and know the secrets of the universe, both of which are forgotten when they "cross over" at age 2. Both Dr. Kinder and Robin's husband Dan (Ally McBeal
star Peter MacNicol) are researching infant pre-language.
Sly wants to escape the lab, and eventually succeeds, making his way to a nearby mall. Dr. Kinder quickly sends out some of her subordinates (referred to by the babies as her "goons") to find and retrieve him. The next day, however, Whit is taken to the mall, and is accidentally captured and taken to the lab in Sly's place, while Sly is taken back to Robin's house.
At first, Dr. Kinder is horrified when she discovers that she has Whit, not Sly, but then she decides it will be beneficial to her plan, and sends more goons to bring Sly back to the lab too. Whit and Sly organize the babies at the lab and Dan and Robin's day care to stop Dr. Kinder's plan.
The film was critically panned; it was ranked by leading film critic Roger Ebert
as one of his most hated movies. However, despite being savaged on all sides by critics, it made about triple its budget. It was followed by a sequel, SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2
, in 2004. As of July 2011 resides at the top spot of the Internet Movie Database's Bottom 100 list
(the original is also in the list, currently at #68). And even though neither of original films were extremely successful, Clark planned a third
movie, which has been released as a Direct-to-Video
movie titled Baby Geniuses and the Mystery of the Crown Jewels
(which was originally going to be a TV show called "Baby Geniuses: Baby Squad Investigators"), but since he died in 2007
, a new director had to come in. And a fourth
movie is in the works, and it's mentioned at the end of the third movie.
This film contains examples of:
- Adults Are Useless: "A live-action Rugrats!" indeed, as the adults in these movies are not much more capable of keeping track of these children than the parents of Rugrats so often are.
- All Germans Are Nazis: Implied in the third film. The British have a Sherlock Holmes expy, the French have an Inspector Clouseau expy, the Italians have a random pizza baker, and the Germans have... Herr Flick?
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: In the third movie, "Glockenspiel" is the only actual German word spoken by the Germans.
- Award Bait Song: "A Gift of Love" by Randy Travis.
- Bad Bad Acting: A trademark of these movies and a poster child for why infants are rarely cast as the stars in a live-action film.
- Bamboo Technology: One of the babies builds a camera jamming device out of miscellaneous parts and toys lying around, including a Game Boy.
- This could be somewhat justified in that they might have the materials to build such a device in his room to nurture his intellect or something. This, of course, would raise the even bigger problem of why they'd be willing to compromise security that way, especially with a baby who's tried to escape previously.
- Baby Language
- Brainy Babies
- The Cameo: Dom DeLuise (or: that guy who keeps doing voice work in Don Bluth movies) appears a couple times in the film.
- Compilation Movie: The third and fourth ones (they were originally going to be a TV show); the fifth is forthcoming.
- Covers Always Lie: The babies featured on the official poster for the second movie look nothing like the actual babies featured in the film.
- Dawson Casting: In the third movie, the babies are played by toddlers old enough to walk by themselves without CGI.
- Department of Redundancy Department: In the third movie, the roles of the four members of the Baby Squad are: team leader, high-tech wiz, master of disguise, and "fashion expert." Ideally, a master of disguise would be a fashion expert.
- Dull Surprise
- Everybody Knew Already: In the third movie, the villains' first "secret" base is their own burger bar.
- Genre Savvy: The two mooks under Groin Attack point out that Sly hitting them in the gonads with skis is something out of a bad movie. They are completely correct.
- Groin Attack: Used by Sly and lampshaded by the victims, two consecutive times.
- Growing Up Sucks: When babies turn 2, they cross over and forget everything they knew.
- Older Than They Look: In the second film, Kahuna is definitely too old to be considered a superbaby; this gets even creepier when we discover he's actually a grown man who never aged past childhood.
- Did we forget to mention he's the brother of the sixtysomething Bill Biscane in this movie?
- Police Are Useless: In the third movie, the babies find many obvious clues that the police somehow missed.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The sappy Randy Travis song that played at the end of the movie. It tried to come across as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, but failed horribly considering the source material.
- The second film's soundtrack really tries desperately to sound big and epic even when nothing resembling this is what's taking place onscreen; it works about as well as you can expect from a film with this premise.
- Star-Derailing Role: The first film is often blamed for contributing to the decline of Christopher Lloyd's and Kathleen Turner's onscreen acting careers.
- Stock Parody: Sly dancing in the white disco suit from Saturday Night Fever in the first movie.
- The Theme Park Version: London in the third movie.
- Toilet Humor: "Diaper gravy!"
- Uncanny Valley: Yeah, the CGI mouths that allow these babies to "talk" in these movies are just so convincing.
- Unfortunate Name: The babies' nicknames in the first movie are Sly and Whit; one of the babies' in the second film is named Finkleman.
- Villain Ball: In the third movie, despite supposedly being smart, the Big Bad's son casts further suspicion on himself by blatantly threatening the heroes to stop investigating.
- Wham Line: "You think I went to all this trouble just because dad liked you best?!?"