James: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Mikey: Yeah. Lunch!
Mollie Jensen (Alley) is an accountant living in New York City. She's been having an affair for quite some time with a wealthy married client, Albert (George Segal), who continuously makes excuses for why he hasn't left his wife yet. Mollie ends up pregnant, and Albert promises to support both her and the baby.
But then, she finds Albert with another woman. The shock sends her into labor, and she is forced to take a cab driven by James Ubriacco (Travolta) to the hospital. James is a nice guy, sticking around and providing support all through the birth. A few days after, he shows up at her apartment to return her purse, which she had left in the cab. He immediately hits it off with Mollie's newborn son Mikey (Willis). Eventually, a relationship develops between the two adults, with baby Mikey commenting on it all the way.
Let's face it, the real appeal is not in the romantic comedy plot line, but the fact that this time, we get the baby's POV on the matter. For the most part, it's Actually Pretty Funny.
It was followed by two sequels. Look Who's Talking Too (1990) added Roseanne Barr as the voice of Mikey's newborn sister Julie and Damon Wayans as the voice of Mikey's best friend Eddie. In Look Who's Talking Now (1993), the children have grown to speaking age and so we see things instead from the new dogs of the Ubriacco family, Rocks (Danny DeVito) and Daphne (Diane Keaton). They didn't fare as well as the first one, with the first sequel even getting two Razzie nominations. Also spawned a short-lived Spiritual Successor sitcom, Baby Talk, which ran for two seasons from 1991-1992. While the sitcom was a different continuity and none of the film's characters appear, the characters were created by Amy Heckerling, who wrote and directed the first film.
- Accidental Misnaming: Albert keeps calling Mikey "Mickey".
- Actor Allusion:
- In the third film, Mollie is reduced to working as an elf in a mall Santa display, sporting a gigantic pair of pointed ears. When some kids ask what she's supposed to be, she snarls "I'm a Vulcan! Wanna see my death grip?" Kirstie Alley's first movie role was playing the Vulcan Saavik in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- In the first film, Mikey is being strolled down the sidewalk to the tune of "Staying Alive"
- James is a pilot on the side, as is John Travolta.
- Adult Fear: James and Mollie freak when Mikey wanders off towards the end of the movie, even more so when they see him walking in a busy street.
- Answer Cut: When Molly calls the police thinking Mikey's been kidnapped, she says it's either that or with someone who's a complete idiot. Cut to James taking Mikey to work with him while Molly was asleep.
- Babies Ever After: More of a case of Book-Ends, given the story starts with a baby, But the first movie ends with the birth of Julie, Mikey's younger sister.
- Baby Talk: Molly's mother speaks this way to Mikey, who thinks it means she's gone nuts.
- Bad Date: Molly has one, thanks to a "little helpful advice" from the babysitter.
- But We Used a Condom: Mollie has a diaphragm, it just doesn't seem to do her any good.
- Call-Back:Albert: I'm going through a selfish phase.
Molly: A selfish phase?!
Albert: I'm trying to be honest! I thought you'd understand!
Molly: Oh, I understand. I understand that you're going through a selfish phase.
- Chekhov's Gun: When James first visits Mollie after she gave birth to Mikey, he returns her purse, which she left in his cab while in labor. He mentions her diaphragm was inside. In the second film, James and Mollie conceive Julie despite the fact that she was wearing that diaphragm.
- Chekhov's Skill: James's ability to drive crazy but efficiently comes back when they need to chase down a runaway Mikey.
- Darker and Edgier: Look Who's Talking, Too! For one thing, Mikey has to save Julie from an apartment fire. And Look Who's Talking Now has the family encounter a pack of wolves.
- Deadpan Snarker: Lots of Mikey's commentary falls into this.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Mollies father reads an accounting magazine the way a child reads a comic book.
- Double Entendre: The entire scene when James is taking the splinter out of Mollie's hand and her mother hears outside the apartment door. Made even better when James zips his pants as he walks out.
- Eskimos Aren't Real: Somewhat averted in Look Who's Talking Too. Baby Mikey is sitting awake at night scared. He lists various things he's worried about, and that they aren't real. This includes monsters, ghosts, witches, and dinosaurs. He knows that one of them used to be real, but can't remember which. Justified, since he is a baby.
- Evil Sounds Deep: When an unconcerned nurse tells Mollie to calm her breathing during her contractions ("You're not in aerobics class"), Mollie's voice goes to Demonic Possession levels screaming FUCK MY BREATHING!
- Gilligan Cut: After Mollie vows aloud that she will not develop Postpartum Depression, the scene cuts abruptly to her crying uncontrollably.
- House Amnesia: Happens at the end of a heated argument between Mollie and James.
- Imagine Spot: Several.
- Infant Immortality: When Mikey wanders out into a busy New York City street, cars rush past him and crash all around him. He doesn't have a scratch.
- Innocent Inaccurate: Mikey is prone to these (being an infant and all). He thinks boobs are only there for food, for example. (He does have a point, to be fair.)James: Are you thinkin' what I'm thinkin'?
Mikey: Yeah. Lunch!
- Innocent Innuendo: A funny scene when they are trying to get a splinter out while Molly's mom is outside. Molly says, "Ooh! I've never had one that big in me!" To make matters worse, when James leaves her apartment, he non-chalantly zips up his jeans right in front of her mother.
- Instant Birth: Just Add Water!: Subverted, but Jimmy believes the trope to be true. Jimmy starts driving like a mad man when he finds out his fare (Mollie) is in labor, and doubles down on the madness when her water breaks. She yells at him to calm down and drive safe, the first stages of labor can take hours. He replies that the traffic in that area of town can take hours as well. Mollie was right, they get to the hospital in plenty of time.
- "Jump Off a Bridge" Rebuttal
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Mollie never plans her pregnancies.
- Lightbulb Joke: A conversation between Mikey and two other babies in the park centers around this.Mikey: How many babies does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Park Baby 1: How many?
Mikey: Whats a light bulb?
<<Mikey and Park Baby 1 laugh>>
Park Baby 2: I dont get it.
- Ms. Imagination: Most of the Imagine Spots are Mollie's.
- Mocking Sing-Song: In Look Who's Talking Too, the egg cell goes "neener neener neener" to the swarm of sperm cells when they find themselves blocked off from access to her by a diaphragm.
- Morning Sickness: Mollie's first clue to her conception. Once the "sperm race to fertilize" sequence ends, we're "greeted" by a shot of Mollie puking her guts out.
- My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Told to Mollie by her OB/GYN when she finds out about her first pregnancy. This leads to a nightmare where she's hanging from a clock tower.
- Nice Guy: James.
- Nice to the Waiter: Mollie starts dating several men and discarding them by imagining how they would behave with her son, Mikey, judging on how they treat the waiter.
- Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: James pulls out a splinter from Molly's finger. Her mother overhears and assume they're having sex. When James comes out, he zips his fly.
- Parental Substitute: James to Mikey.
- Potty Dance: In the sequel, Mikey thinks that he just has to pee by jumping up and down, and results in Potty Failure a bit later.
- Potty Failure: Happens to Mikey at one time in the sequel. Finally averted a little later when he decides to use the toilet all by himself without any trouble.
- Precision F-Strike: Molly's demonic FUCK MY BREATHING! during her labor.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After learning that Mollie lied about having an artificial insemination, James and Mollie got into an argument. Mollie tells him Albert has a right to see his son and tells James he's too immature to be a dad. Then James calls her out for using Mikey to push other guys away.
- Shout-Out: In the sequel, while Mollie and Julie try to make themselves perfect in their makeup montage, "I Enjoy Being a Girl" from Flower Drum Song (the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that's based on the novel by C.Y. Lee) plays in the background.
- Sperm As People: The opening sequence shows an anthropomorphic sperm fertilizing an egg.
- Spit Take: James does one when Mollie informs him that the milk he put in his coffee is breast milk.
- Straw Character: Molly's brother, representing everything a New Yorker should not believe.
- Straying Baby: During the climax of the first film, Mikey wanders into a car being towed and ends up in the middle of New York City traffic. Mollie and James are terrified. Mikey, not so much.
- Time Skip: The first film has Mikey aging a couple of years using a Time-Compression Montage.
- Toilet Training Plot: Part of the second film is about toilet training.
- Wacky Cravings: Even before pregnancy is confirmed, Molly starts eating her mother's cooking heartily; her mom notices this, as she's never cared for her cooking before. She also starts eating ice cream (which she never liked before). There's also an in-utero shot of Mikey yanking on his umbilical cord like it's signal rope and demanding orange juice; cut to Molly chugging down most of a gallon.
- What the Hell, Hero?: James calling out Mollie's decision to get pregnant with a married man's child and calling it irresponsible. He's the first to point out how hypocritical she comes off sometimes.
- Your Cheating Heart:
- Albert is a philanderer who's seeing at least two women on the side.
- In the third movie, Mollie fears that James is having an affair with his boss.
- You're Drinking Breast Milk: Jimmy does a Spit Take when Mollie informs him the bottled milk he put in his coffee is her breast milk.Jimmy: Why didn't you tell me?
Mikey: Hey, you're on your own!