It’s time to look at a film about babies who can fight with adults. Does this sound like a terrible premise? Yes, yes it does. I’ve never been big about having kids and babies in films, much less the center role. They tend to be more annoying than anything else. This film may not be quite as obnoxious as you would expect based on all of this, but I still wouldn’t call it a good film. This is one time where I do agree with the overwhelming majority that this film should not have been made, much less have been given sequels. While this one may have stayed classy for the most part, I somehow don’t think the sequels will have the same restraint.
The film starts off with the evil organization trying to stop a baby from escaping. His name is Sylvester and he is the smartest baby of them all. He flips a bunch of adults around and outruns them even though he is clearly just waddling. Somehow or another he breaks out of the instillation by hiding in dirty laundry and swaps places with his twin who was given a normal life. The villains have him now (Whit) and they don’t mind since part of their convoluted plan is to see which Baby would develop better. See, another part of the plot that I didn’t mention is that Babies are born with the secrets to the universe. They know everything and only lose this knowledge when they grow up. The reason why nobody knows about this is because they’ve all made a pact not to disclose any information to adults. We’re led to believe that every baby in the world is in on this and they have never made a slip up. Even when they debate on what they should tell their parents, they always decide to start with Mama or Dada to follow the tropes. Can Sylvester save Whit and prove that feigning ignorance is always the best policy or will they use the secrets of the Universe for positive effects?
I guess the opening scene isn’t handled too badly. It’s played pretty seriously aside from the Baby beating them up. The Baby can’t act and I just can’t believe that a baby is beating up these agents though. Physically Sylvester is still just a baby. I don’t care how smart he is or how much of a genius he has become, it’s still a little unreasonable to have him going up against trained professionals. You’re not supposed to take it too seriously since it’s a comedy I suppose, but I still can’t roll with that. Especially since it’s relevant to the whole premise and we never get such a fight again. After that it all goes back to the Babies being super smart, but not necessarily ultra powerful.
There is one running gag that’s pretty bad and you have to wonder why it’s here. A teenage guy decides to rebel..because he doesn’t like his job I guess, and keeps trying to dress outlandishly so he can be fired. He’s also disrespectful and tries to break all of the rules. However to spite him…the owner forces him to keep the job. I get that spiting people can be entertaining, but in this case, the business is losing money and risking its reputation all to spite the guy. That makes no business sense and the characters must not be very smart to try and pull this off. You’ll be shaking your head the whole time during these scenes.
There’s also your typical baby humor that certainly doesn’t age well. It won’t make you smile let alone laugh. The only decent joke was when Sylvester enacts a really obvious plan to hit the villains where they hurt so they dodge but then they end up getting hit anyway. It even happens twice for extra emphasis. I could get behind that joke as it at least pointed out that these minions were better than the average ones, but it’s a small victory considering everything else.
The film doesn’t drag on at least as it isn’t too long. There just aren’t many stand out moments. Again, the babies are just annoying and they never actually do much. The humans don’t leave much of an impact as well. I guess it’s good that the Dad can understand the Babies a little, but not enough to do much. From the villains I only liked the Director who pointed out how great the operation was. His boss was less charismatic. I do like how everyone knows she is evil, but she’s still allowed inside the main characters’ house though. Those guys aren’t very smart if you ask me and they take the whole “She’s stealing their ideas” knowledge very casually. If someone was stealing my ideas and making big money off of it I would certainly have a few options on what to do and I’d weigh them carefully. Standing around and making jokes about it wouldn’t be in my top 10.
While I’ve been bashing the film a lot, it’s not as if it’s a terrible film. I’ve certainly seen far worse ones. The main problem is just the fact that the babies get a ton of screen time and really don’t need to be here. Much like the film doesn’t. I think for this plot to work they at least have to be kids and even then I’ll be annoyed. Teenagers are really the youngest age at which you can have the characters fight and do well without it being too obnoxious or cheesy. That’s the way that I see it at the very least. There also should have been an easy Baby if you ask me since that would have at least given Sylvester to fight. He doesn’t really get a final fight as the film’s climax is ironically a little more about the adults as they have their big confrontation. It was nice to see the Cops show up at the end…they were just almost 2 hours too late to really help.
Overall, Baby Geniuses is about as good as you would expect from the title. By that I mean that the film isn’t very good. The humor can be decent at times, but cringey at other times. There are no really good characters which is a bit of a problem. The lead researcher who is always trying to decipher the babies’ code is the best by default. With a better cast and a different premise, then maybe this film could work, but I personally doubt it. I’d advice staying away from this film unless you’re just a big fan of babies and think it’d be pretty adorable to see them having fun. I’ve never been a big babies person so it’s a premise that I would stay away from on principle.