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Film / Baby Geniuses

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Baby Geniuses is a 1999 action/comedy film directed by Bob Clark and starring Kathleen Turner and Christopher Lloyd.

The film relies on the premise that some babies possess profound knowledge of the universe from birth, but as they grow older and learn to talk, they "cross over" and lose all of this knowledge. Dr. Elena Kinder (Turner), CEO of BabyCo, is studying several such baby geniuses as an experiment to develop the "Kinder Method" of child rearing, which will result in children having superior intelligence as they mature. To demonstrate her methods are valid, she arranged for a pair of identical twin boys to be born to a surrogate; one of them, Sly, was taken by BabyCo and raised and educated in their secret lab, while his brother Whit was adopted by Kinder's niece Robin (Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall) to be raised in a normal environment. Robin's husband Dan (Ally McBeal star Peter MacNicol) is researching infant pre-language, and suspects he may be able to remember how to speak to babies in their own language.

Sly manages to escape the BabyCo lab and runs into Whit at a playground in a mall, and Kinder's goons capture Whit while Robin takes Sly home, each believing they are the other. Sly rallies the other babies at Robin's orphanage to bust into BabyCo to rescue Whit and stop Kinder's schemes, and Kinder finds out about the switch and tries to recapture Sly and begins experimenting on Whit in the meantime, while the other babies under Kinder's care decide to help Whit.

It was followed by a sequel, Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, which starred Jon Voight, in 2004. 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, Sean McNamara. A fourth movie has been released too, and a fifth soon followed.

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?
    • Its somewhat played straighter in Superbabies with the villain Bill Biscane having the German accent and the uniform but no swastika insignia.
  • 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.
  • Baby Language: Exaggerated. In this universe all of that gibberish babies do (talking, art, even fumbling around with musical instruments) is actually a super-complicated cypher that requires super-computers to decode.
  • 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.
  • Brainy Babies
  • The Cameo: Dom DeLuise appears a couple times in the film.
  • Compilation Movie: The third, fourth and fifth ones (they were originally going to be a TV show).
  • Covers Always Lie: The babies featured on the official poster for the second movie look nothing like the actual babies featured in the film.
  • 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.
  • Death by Genre Savviness: The two mooks listed below under Genre Savvy give Sly the exact same speech about how they know he set a trap to hit them in the groin with a ski and that they won't fall for it by standing in a different spot, only to get hurt anyway when they move out of the way of Sly spitting at them and step right where the ski is.
  • Dull Surprise
  • 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.
  • Groin Attack: Used by Sly and lampshaded by the victims, two consecutive times.
  • Growing Up Sucks: When babies turn two, they cross over and forget everything they knew.
  • Hostile Animatronics: Sly manages to use the BabyCo animatronics against the villains during the climax.
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: In the third movie, the villains' first "secret" base is their own burger bar.
  • 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.
  • Polish the Turd: As of May 2019, Baby Geniuses 2 has a 2.1 rating on IMDb (albeit with a suspiciously high number of 10/10 votes). However, positive reviews have inexplicably started appearing in July 2014 and have gotten plenty of "helpful" votes while negative reviews have gotten just as many "unhelpful" votes. The positive reviews seem to be a mix of AstroTurfing and trolling, but the high number of 10/10 votes and the upvotes/downvotes of reviews clearly point towards turd-polishing from the producers.
  • Product Placement: A lot of Sony-produced shows and electronics appear, like the Walkman, the PlayStation and Jeopardy! playing on Sony TV monitors.
  • Sequel Hook: From the first movie: "If they think I'm making the sequel for less than twenty mil, they're nuts!"
  • Shout-Out:
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • The sappy Randy Travis song that played at the end of the movie.
    • 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.
  • Stock Parody: Sly dancing in the white disco suit from Saturday Night Fever in the first movie.
  • Thematic Series: Besides all having talking, intelligent babies, the movies don't really have anything to do with each other.
  • The Theme Park Version: London in the third movie.
  • 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.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Bound to be the case as the babies are voiced by somewhat older children. The crude mouthing effects make it even more disconcerting.
  • Wham Line: In the sequel; "You think I went to all this trouble just because dad liked you best?!?"