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Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2

Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2

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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).

babygeniusestwo2The 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.

babygeniusestwo1The 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.

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IMDb Bottom 100: Baby Geniuses

Baby Geniuses

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One of the great questions surrounding the stalwarts of the IMDb Bottom 100 is “Which is worse, ‘Baby Geniuses’ or ‘Baby Geniuses 2?'” In general, most seem to think less of the Jon Voight led sequel. However, The Nostalgia Critic made an interesting case for the first movie being the lesser. Personally, I agree with NC on this one: I think that despite “Baby Geniuses 2” being the more incompetent movie (which is saying a lot), Jon Voight’s performance manages to make it a more entertaining watch than “Baby Geniuses”.  “Baby Geniuses” does have its own cast of self-debasing actors, most notably Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future”) and Kathleen Turner (“War of the Roses”), but neither of them get the same kind of screen time or go to nearly the same over-the-top lengths as Voight does in the sequel, which is strangely kind of a weakness to “Baby Geniuses” when it comes down to a comparison.

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“Baby Geniuses” has one particular sequence that qualifies, surprisingly, as unadulterated nightmare fuel. For whatever reason, a lot of the plot takes place around an amusement park that features a host of remote-controlled animatronic creatures. Among these animatronics are Santa Claus, a terrifying clown that could put Tim Curry to shame, and a horrific 8-foot baby that is equipped with a speaker. During the climax of the movie, the genius babies take over the animatronics to create a distraction, which leads to a horrifying battle between a small army of security personnel and a robotic horde of terrifying animatronics, led by a bellowing giant baby. It is really unsettling and out of place to say the least.

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“Baby Geniuses” mercifully doesn’t resort to the cheesy computer generated effects that the sequels do, but the stunts and voice-over work are aggravatingly obnoxious none-the-less. It goes without saying that the babies weren’t exactly stellar actors, and it isn’t like there was much anyone could do about that (apart from not making a movie about babies). Does that make it forgivable? Absolutely not. The experience of watching babies giggle and flail while adults provide their voices is miserable, even if it was all unavoidable by the picture’s very design.

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There is an interesting question to be asked of the “Baby Geniuses” franchise: who is the target audience of the movies? Are young children supposed to be enjoying these movies? Are babies supposed to be gawking at the noises and colors? Or is the goal of these movies to entertain elderly people who find babies unbearably cute? Honestly, I’m not convinced that the people behind the franchise are totally sure of this. It seems like these movies aim for all of these targets, which is almost certainly part of why they are ultimately so damn weird.

One of the strangest aspects of this movie involves a mysterious maturation process that all of the babies go through when they hit 2 years old (if I recall correctly). Without much warning, it is shown that each baby character loses all of their memories and thoughts as they turn into…actual people? In any case, all of the babies are aware of this process, and they face it not unlike an adult would face the prospect of death. Essentially, the characters are dying: all of their defining characteristics and personalities disappear in the blink of an eye. To say that this is really bizarre to see in a movie about super-intelligent babies is a massive understatement. I did not expect to see babies go through an existential crisis when I turned on this movie. I mean, who would?

If there is anything positive to say about “Baby Geniuses” it is that the plot is very straightforward. It boils down to a simple case of mistaken identity, which is as close as the movie ever gets to being Hitchcock-ian. In any case, there isn’t anything particularly wrong with the plot or the structure of the film: all of the frills on top of it are just shitty.

Overall, it is impossible to recommend “Baby Geniuses” as an enjoyable bad movie. Most of the film is just boring when it comes down to it, and there are very few sequences that prove entertaining. To the sequel’s credit, there are certainly more bafflingly watchable moments to be had there, courtesy of the Academy Award winning actor Jon Voight. The most I can recommend is to find a supercut of highlights of the two movies, or check out detailed video reviews of them.