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 plotline, but the fact that this time, we get the baby's POV on the matter.
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".Mollie: MIKEY!
- 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. Mollie is also scared when she wakes up from a nap and Mikey is gone, unaware James took him to work while she slept.
- Babies Ever After: More of a case of Bookends, 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.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: James and Mollie are just friends for the first year of Mikey's life before finally acting on their feelings for each other.
- Better Than Sex: When Mikey first uses the toilet in the sequel, James remarks that the pride he feels is "better than money, better than airplanes," but he's hesitant to agree when Mollie proclaims that it feels better than sex.
- Big Brother Instinct: Zigzagged with Mikey and Julie. Upon hearing that he's going to be a big brother, he fantasizes about taking care of his baby sister and protecting her from punk toddlers. However, her snotty attitude and constant crying after she's born changes his mind and he constantly insults her and even destroys her favorite toy. He later comes around to love her, and even pushes her out of their burning apartment.
- Bookends: Downplayed. The first film opens with a scene of sperm fertilizing an egg to show Mikey's conception, and the last scene of the film begins with a shorter scene of sperm fertilizing an egg before showing Mikey's newborn sister.
- But We Used a Condom!: Mollie has a diaphragm, it just doesn't seem to do her any good. The sequel shows one of the sperm sliding past it.
- 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.
- Demoted to Extra: Mikey and Julie in Look Who's Talking Now, which focus on dogs.
- Description 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.
- 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.
- Easily Forgiven: Mollie comes home from her disastrous date with a fellow accountant angry at James for sabotaging it (James told him Mollie is "liberated", insistent on paying for everything and not liking doors opened for her, etc.), but melts at the sight of James and Mikey asleep on the couch.
- 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! This gets a Call-Back in the sequel when she goes into labor at work and screams for somebody to get her to a fucking hospital in a similarly deep voice.
- Gilligan Cut: After Mollie vows aloud that she will not develop Postpartum Depression, the scene cuts abruptly to her crying uncontrollably.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: The orderly who volunteered to watch James's grandfather and Mikey while Mollie is downstairs goes on his lunch break and leaves the two alone. Mikey escapes an easily distracted Grandpa, setting up the climax of Mikey running loose on his own.
- House Amnesia: At the end of a heated argument between Mollie and James, the latter tells Mollie to get out of his apartment, and Mollie reminds him that this is her apartment.
- Imagine Spot: Trying to find a father for Mikey, Mollie dates two undesirable gentlemen, then has a fantasy for each of them where they act like terrible fathers to Mikey. Later, she starts having sex with James, but stops ahead of time because she imagines her and James as a poor family with tons of rowdy kids.
- Improbable Infant Survival: 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.
- Infant Sibling Jealousy: Mikey doesn't get along with Julie in the second movie, though in this case, she gets to snap right back at him. He even blames her for their parents' marital problems and destroys her favorite toy. Mikey later realizes how mean he was being and apologizes to Julie.
- Innocent Inaccurate: Mikey is prone to these (being an infant and all). He thinks boobs are only there for food, for example.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 Labor!: 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.
- Lost in Translation: When James stops by Mollie's to say a last goodbye to Mikey, Mollie comes in a few moments later; Mikey's new babysitter Lupe tries to tell her in Spanish James is there.Lupe: El senor esta en el cuarto con el bebe. [He's in the room with the baby]Mollie: [confused] Oh, ok, I'll write you a check.[Lupe also confused]
Director: Bill always says "No problem". That's all he can say, the man can't speak English.
- This also happens between James and an orderly when he checks his grandfather into the rest home; James gives the orderly a bag of candy instructing his grandfather gets one a day, but the latter eventually scores the whole stash. The director of the home tells Mollie that the orderly, who said "No problem" when instructed, didn't understand James at all.
- 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.
- Neat Freak: One of Mollie's dates. This doesn't put him in her 'good father' book.
- 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.
- Opposites Attract: James is a carefree taxi driver, Molly is a worrywart accountant, and they eventually pair up.
- 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 Sexuality Squick: Mollie's mother says that if she thought too much about how responsible Mollie's father was when they first met, they never would have gotten past the first week, which she claims was very fun. Mollie groans and tells her mom, "Don't talk about sex and Daddy!" to which her mom chuckles.
- Parental Substitute: James becomes Mikey's babysitter and bonds with him so easily, Mikey decides to make James his daddy. James becomes his stepdaddy by the end of the film.
- 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 that James is too immature to be a dad. Then James calls her out for using Mikey to push other guys away.
- Screaming Birth: Mollie is in agony during Mikey's birth, demanding drugs and at one point shouting like she's possessed by a demon.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Both Mollie and James have this reaction when they see each other dressed up for their respective dates, since usually when they're around each other, Mollie is in mom-wear and James doesn't really dress up.
- 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.
- Also, in the sequel, the cartoon that Mikey and Julie are trying to watch is "Minnie the Moocher" (you know, the cartoon that has the titular song by Cab Calloway, and whose scene includes prisoners being led to electric chairs while singing "Eye-dee-eye-dee-eye-dee-eye-dee-eye-dee-eye-dee-eye... Eee-dee-eee-dee-eee-dee-eee-dee-eee-dee-eee-dee-eee..." you know how that goes...).
- Sperm as People: The opening sequence shows an anthropomorphic sperm fertilizing an egg. The sequel takes it up a notch, as the sperm and egg get their own voiceovers.
- 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 Mikey.
- 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 a 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.
- Mollie gives him one for taking Mikey while she slept, making her think he kidnapped him.
- 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!
- Your Head A-Splode: One of Mollie's imagine-spots pictures this happening to Albert when she's forced to do his taxes.Albert: I'm gonna burst if I don't kiss you soon.Mollie: Tough.[Albert's head explodes into sparks and glitter]