The Hunt for the Worst Movie of All Time continues this week with Baby Geniuses. I was skeptical that a children’s comedy could even be considered in this search for the same reason that I’m convinced that nothing involving the Wayans Brothers can be considered: any broad comedy created to wring a few dollars out of an unquestioning audience, however lame or aesthetically unpleasant, is at least open about its intentions. That being said, I’m not sure that Baby Geniuses is a comedy for children, because I have been to college and I have no idea what happened. Children have not been to college. I promise you this: I am smarter than any child. I might not know as much trivia on whatever forgettable subject they’re rote memorizing in playschool at the moment, but systematically and comprehensively I am way more smarter than they is.
The basic (not basic) premise of Baby Geniuses is that Kathleen Turner is an evil billionaire with a company called Baby Co, which as far as I can tell makes its money from a brand new theme park she just opened called Joy World? But it just opened so how is she rich? We don’t have time to get tangled up in the exposition, so let’s just move on. Besides, you can make tons of money from indoor theme parks that only have one roller-coaster and are geared towards pre-verbal children. I’m pretty sure that’s how Bill Gates made his money before investing some of his fortune in his computer hobby. Joy World’s mascot, like the movie, is horrifying and confusing.
Meanwhile, 25 miles below Joy World is a secret laboratory where Kathleen Turner has secreted some babies and is trying to scientifically prove that her method of child development can create geniuses, because if she proves that she will be put in charge of teaching all the babies in the world? And she will then have exclusive ownership of their genius? Which makes sense because teaching is very lucrative, that’s why only billionaires are teachers, and when you teach a child really well you get to own them. It’s in the Constitution.
The only way that her “evil” plan can be foiled is if one of her baby genius subjects, Sylvester, escapes and accidentally runs into his twin, Whit, because if the twins meet then somehow that will tear a hole in the twin-time continuum. Sylvester does escape, because he is a genius, and he accidentally runs into his twin at the mall, because the first place any genius goes when he escapes from confinement is the mall, and that is where most accidental meetings occur. Then the babies get switched, and non-genius babies have to go break other babies out of genius jail. Or something. This is where the movie really gets confusing because it turns out all babies are basically geniuses but some are more geniuses than others (see: karate, the one true sign of a genius), and also this movie is retarded. It ends with a showdown at Joy Land and an anti-climactic low-hanging helicopter-rope-ladder battle on the roof of Baby Co. Kathleen Turner is caught baby-handed and cannot take the Baby Geniuses with her to Lichtenstein, which is what she was going to do (seriously) to erase the evidence of her incomprehensible scheme that an hour and a half later I still do not understand at all. Another classic children’s tale.
The whole movie is predicated on a supposed ancient Tibetan idea that all humans have access to universal knowledge for the first two years of their life, but lose that knowledge when they enter the verbal world. That’s right, this movie is ancient Tibet’s fault. I’m pretty sure there was also an ancient Tibetan idea that all babies have universal Krav Maga skills.
What? Oh, and just when you think it’s over and you have made it through, scarred but alive, it ends with a five minute montage in no particular order of babies in the movie doing baby things while Randy Travis’s “A Gift of Love” plays in the background. Just celebrating the beauty of babies with CGI lips who make jokes about Weight Watchers and aroma therapy.
Almost everyone in the movie was white. Not just everyone with a major role, or all of the babies, but everyone who appeared on screen. The characters would enter the lobby of a building or walk through a crowded mall and everyone would be white. There is one supporting character who is black, played by Ruby Dee, who admittedly counts as four black people, but still. Other than that, totally white in a kind of amazing way. Here is the only other black person in the movie.
The good foil to Kathleen Turner’s villain is played by Kim Cattrall, who runs a down-on-its-luck daycare center. The movie makes a big point about how Kathleen Turner has so much money and is so rich, and how Kim Cattrall and her husband are struggling and have no money. You can tell that they are poor by the house they live in.
Motherfuckers live in the nicest fucking house.
I did have a few favorite moments in the movie:
Baby gets stuffed in duffel bag:
Baby gets stuffed in pillowcase:
P. Oopie Bottoms & Sons
Animatronic alien puppet at theme park that shoots real lasers:
Anyway, this is truly a horrible horrible movie. Nevertheless, it was profitable enough for a sequel, SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2, and according to IMDB a third movie is currently in production. Good job, American consumers responsible for this. I’m so glad you’re in charge of raising children.
Next time: The Lady in the Water.