I felt sorry for the kids onscreen, who one day will be hiding this film among those dark secrets of the soul that we read about in great novels. And I felt really sorry for Jon Voight. He was one of the 1960s and 1970s signature actors, and in 2004 he's getting repeatedly kicked in the face by a seven-year-old. Does he need money? If you or I wrote a movie, could we get Voight to participate for $100 and unlimited runs to the craft services table? Someone should write him a letter or send him flowers. He's a good actor and he's starring in the sequel to Baby Geniuses with Chachi? Something is very, very wrong here.
Voight and the film's other two notable stars, Scott Baio and Vanessa Angel (Kingpin), are the only adult leads in this movie. The majority of the cast features four babies, pals at a day care center run by Baio and Angel, who can actually communicate with each other and perform adult tasks better than most filmcritic.com staff members. Voight, fashioning a ridiculous German accent, plays a TV mogul who wants to control children's thoughts through his new television station. The babies meet up with a legendary super kid (named, for no real reason, Kahuna) to stop Voight, who is Kahuna's longtime enemy.
Just so you know, the proceeding paragraph is the actual plot.
SuperBabies has no redeeming qualities. Adults are portrayed as mean, ignorant, or unloving. The babies are all cute, but they're shuffled about in a constant attempt to get the audience to ooh and aah. Half-baked lessons about confidence and believing in yourself are thrown around to give the impression that the movie has substance. You get subplots that are either lame or unresolved.
And when the babies open their mouths, the movie reaches another level of horror and becomes the absolute antithesis of everything good about childhood. The voices sound either robotic or overly rehearsed, and whatever comes out of the babies' mouths sounds clichéd and overwritten (the babies talk about abandonment issues). The one era of childhood that's pure and full of discovery is depicted as time of kicking ass, taking names, and dressing like a beauty pageant freak.
The most troubling thing about SuperBabies is that it shouldn't have happened. The movie's director, Bob Clark, brought us A Christmas Story, that rare classic that kids and adults both love. I'd love to know what happened, and how he could oversee such a joyless movie (as well as the original and equally reviled Baby Geniuses) 21 years later. Maybe Jon Voight isn't the only person we need to write a letter to.
Aka Super Babies.
Watch out, Batman.
Run time: 88 mins
In Theaters: Friday 27th August 2004
Box Office USA: $9.0M
Box Office Worldwide: $9.1M
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Production compaines: Triumph Films, Crystal Sky Worldwide
Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5
IMDB: 1.9 / 10
Director: Bob Clark
Producer: Steven Paul
Screenwriter: Gregory Poppen
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