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MOVIE REVIEW

Note to 'Superbabies': Oh, grow up already

A sequel to 1999 film 'Baby Geniuses,' this pint-size caper flick is another big mistake.

August 27, 2004|Kevin Crust | Times Staff Writer

The themes for this weekend's movies apparently are sequels nobody asked for, over-the-top Jon Voight performances and anti-aging formulas, the three things that link "Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood" and "Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2." While the former is at least entertaining, the latter prompts the question "Why?"

A follow-up to the 1999 mishap "Baby Geniuses," "Superbabies" may quite easily put an end to any discussion of what is the worst theatrical release of 2004. The culprits are once again producer Steven Paul and director Bob Clark; the movie is so bad that Sony Entertainment revived a long-dormant entity, Triumph Films, to release it, presumably to avoid putting the mother ship's logo in the ads.

Further burying a conceit the "Look Who's Talking" movies ran into the ground more than a decade ago, "Superbabies" holds that infants have a language only they can comprehend, which they forget as they get older. All those gurgles and coos seemingly add up to commentary on life from the diaper set.

Scott Baio and Vanessa Angel play a couple who own an upscale day-care center that has some connection to the one from "Baby Geniuses." Their son, Alex, entertains his fellow rug-rats by spinning tales about a legendary super-baby named Kahuna. The unfortunate Mr. Voight, fondly remembered for his hysterical turn in the first "Anaconda," here plays worldwide media mogul Bill Biscayne and, in a fantasy sequence, a goose-stepping East German army officer (don't ask), both with a jaw-dropping oom-pah-pah Teutonic accent that falls somewhere between Lawrence Welk and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Biscayne is plotting to take over the minds of the world's children, and Kahuna comes along to battle evil in a preschool "Spy Kids" rip-off.

Kahuna is a septuagenarian (!?) forever trapped in the body of a 7-year-old. He got that way by accidentally ingesting a formula his scientist father had concocted and for the last 60-plus years has looked after the welfare of children everywhere. The super-empowered tyke operates out of a grotto beneath the letter H in the Hollywood sign, a nifty little hide-out that looks like some forgotten FAO Schwarz outlet store after a big sale. He downs another special formula of his own concoction to allow him the strength to fight bad guys despite his diminutive frame. The logic is a little fuzzy, though not for want of explanation via flashbacks.

With a steady stream of "see ya, wouldn't want to be ya" dialogue, this interminable Pampers commercial has the nerve to end with a "TV is rotten for kids" message, when the movie itself would do far more to stunt a child's imagination (or cause a kid to burst into tears) than anything currently on television.

*

'Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2'

MPAA rating: PG for action violence and some rude humor

Times guidelines: Mind-numbing drivel

Jon Voight...Bill Biscayne / Kane

Scott Baio...Stan Bobbins

Vanessa Angel...Jean Bobbins

Anastasia Trovato...Tascha

Skyler Shaye...Kylie

Crystal Sky World Wide Sales presents a Hador/ApolloMedia co-production, a Steven Paul production, released by Triumph Films. Director Bob Clark. Producer Steven Paul. Executive producer Frank Hubner. Screenplay by Gregory Poppen, story by Steven Paul. Cinematographer Maher Maleh. Editor Stan Cole. Costume designer Tina Fiorda. Music Helmut Zerlett, Paul Zaza. Production designer Deren P. Abram. Visual effects supervisor Jacques Stroweis. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

In general release.

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