Today’s feature is the particularly infamous bad movie Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2.
The two writers on Baby Geniuses 2 were Gregory Poppen (Chilly Christmas, The Prince and The Surfer, The Million Dollar Kid) and producer Steven Paul (Baby Geniuses, Karate Dog, Never Too Young to Die).
Baby Geniuses 2 was directed by Bob Clark, who is best known for directing movies like A Christmas Story, Rhinestone, Black Christmas, and Porky’s. Baby Geniuses 2 was sadly the last film he would direct, as he died in a car wreck shortly after the film wrapped.
The editor for Baby Geniuses 2 was Stan Cole, who also cut Baby Geniuses, Rhinestone, and Black Christmas for director Bob Clark.
Aside from co-writer Steven Paul, the producers for Baby Geniuses 2 included Eric Breiman (Bratz: The Movie), Jan Fantl (Slipstream (2005), Feardotcom), Rosanne Milliken (Tucker and Dale vs. Evil), Reinhild Graber (Boat Trip, Dracula 3000), and David Marlow (Lexx).
The music for the movie was provided in part by Paul Zaza, who has also provided scores for films like My Bloody Valentine, Prom Night, Porky’s, and A Christmas Story.
The Baby Geniuses 2 makeup effects team was composed of such people as Agnieszka Echallier (In The Name of The King, Hollow Man 2), Joel Echallier (Postal, Air Buddies, Dreamcatcher, Blade: Trinity), Julianne Kaye (Jack Frost 2), and Joan Issacson (Street Smart, Jacknife).
The special effects work on Baby Geniuses 2 was done by a group including Rory Cutler (The Mangler 2, Jennifer’s Body, The Fly II), Brant McIlroy (Scary Movie, Catwoman), Vittorio Palmisani (Fido, The Chronicles of Riddick), Cara E. Anderson (Marmaduke, Trucks, The Core), CJ Wills (Miracle), and Neil Westlake (Smokin’ Aces 2, Big Nothing, The Last Mimzy).
The massive visual effects team for Baby Geniuses 2 included elements from such films as Thor, Ghost Rider, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Elysium, Into The Storm, Josie & The Pussycats, Resident Evil, Deep Blue Sea, Baby Geniuses, Spider Man 3, Jingle All The Way, Hot Fuzz, Thunderpants, Spice World, Drag Me To Hell, and Event Horizon.
The cast of Baby Geniuses 2 includes Jon Voight (Bratz: The Movie, Anaconda, Deliverance), Scott Baio (Charles in Charge), Vanessa Angel (Kingpin), Peter Wingfield (Catwoman), Justin Chatwin (Dragonball: Evolution), and Skyler Shaye (Bratz: The Movie).
The plot of Baby Geniuses 2 follows a group of young babies who stay at a local daycare, and speak in a mysterious baby language. They tell the story of a mythical Superbaby called ‘The Kahuna’, who appears to them shortly afterwards in order to foil an evil plot unfolding under their noses. With the help of their babysitter, the babies get kidnapped by Kahuna and are taken to his Willy Wonka-esque hideout, where they are subsequently turned into superheroes. Eventually the plot ends, and everyone is supposedly happy as all of the children’s memories are wiped.
Baby Geniuses 2 has become a mainstay at the bottom of the IMDb’s Bottom 100, and has held the bottom slot on more than a few occasions. As of this writing, it is sitting at #15 in the ranking.
Baby Geniuses 2 shockingly wound up spawning multiple sequels: Baby Geniuses and The Mystery of the Crown Jewels (2013), Baby Geniuses and The Treasures of Egypt (2014), and Baby Geniuses and The Space Baby (2015). As I understand it, all of these films follow characters established in Baby Geniuses 2 rather than Baby Geniuses, which have very little relationship to each other from a plot perspective.
Baby Geniuses 2 wound up with a total of 4 Golden Raspberry nominations, which are given out as a dishonor for the worst films and performances of the year. It racked up nominations for Worst Director, Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screenplay, but it astoundingly did not win any of them, as they were primarily taken by Catwoman and Fahrenheit 9/11.
Baby Geniuses 2 had a budget of roughly $20 million, though it grossed less than $10 million in its theatrical release, making it a significant financial failure.
The reception to Baby Geniuses 2 was overwhelmingly negative: it currently holds a 1.9 on IMDb, along with scores of 0% (critics) and 19% (audience) on the movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
The bad visual effects and stunts work throughout Baby Geniuses 2 come fast and furious, and just look awful. The effects are all emphasized far too much for a movie that really didn’t require their presence at all. While the fighting scenes are laughable in their incompetence at first, that novelty dries up pretty fast as the movie drags on.
The worst offense in this movie (in my opinion) is the dubbing work done over the babies, who were clearly directed to just randomly move their mouths. Any time you are relying on child actors you are running a big risk for your movie, but the fact that this was riding on baby actors absolutely doomed it (just like its predecessor). Unless you turn to butter at the sight of blithering babies, it is unbearable to watch.
If there is anything memorable about this movie, it is Jon Voight and his ridiculous fake accent. Voight certainly hams up his role to the max in truly bizarre fashion, but that is unfortunately hardly enough to make this movie watchable.
As far as the writing goes in the movie, there is a pathetic attempt at a plot twist that anyone over 5 could spot from a mile away. There is also a half-assed attempt to preach about how awful and lazy watching television causes people to be through the plot, while the movie is simultaneously a mind-numbingly awful movie. The dialogue is almost forgivable, given that babies are supposed to be the ones speaking for most of the film, but there are a number of instances where their vocabulary is far more advanced than it should be, throwing a wrench into any semblance of consistency in the dialogue writing. Most of the attempts at humor relate to poop and/or diapers, a topic which is retread over and over again throughout the film.
Whoopi Goldberg has a perplexing and unnecessary cameo in this movie that I still can’t quite wrap my brain around. She plays herself, and is apparently part of a network of militarized babies (or something), which makes exactly as much sense as it sounds like it does.
There is something that has bugged me ever since I first saw this movie: who was the intended audience for it supposed to be? I’m not sure if this would actually entertain children or babies, as it seems to emphasize the babies being supposedly cute more than anything else. I suppose if you are one of those people that turns to mush whenever you see a baby, this movie might actually have been made for you. In all seriousness, if watching babies be babies for an hour and a half seems like a raucous good time to you, then this movie is totally up your alley, and you should have at it.
For everyone else out there, I highly recommend not watching this movie. It is a horrible mess of a film with no redeeming qualities outside of Jon Voight, who might be worth looking up some clips of. I do suspect that there is a meta-plot to this movie about how it is actually capable of killing your brain cells, just in case you are the sort of person who wants to read too deeply into a movie about babies. However, I assume that I’m probably alone there.