Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2

Why? Seriously, why? Why would anyone make a sequel to Baby Geniuses, a 1999 film whose existence, from its title on down, appeared to be a cruel joke about the gullibility of the lowest common denominator? It would be easy to say that the answer has more to do with commerce than art, but it's probably a mistake to factor art into the equation at all.


The most perversely unnecessary sequel in recent memory, Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 casts Jon Voight in his finest role to date: an ascot-wearing, smoking-jacket-sporting German businessman engaged in a decades-long, multi-continent struggle with a sass-impaired super-scamp who travels around in a flying car and never ages. This super-powered savior of babies is played by triplets Leo, Myles, and Gerry Fitzgerald, all of whom seem destined to someday view their participation here in the same way Bart Simpson looked back in anger at his days as Baby Stink-Breath.

The pint-sized hero operates out of a tawdry would-be kiddie wonderland of cardboard walls, gaudy production design, and holograms so creepy that even Michael Jackson would decry it all as an unconscionable burlesque of childhood whimsy. Suggesting an FAO Schwartz from a malevolent alternate universe, the superbaby's lair looks so sinister that it could easily double as a pedophilic serial killer's bone-chilling underground hideout in a low-budget horror film.

At its best/worst, Superbabies' hallucinatory idiocy inspires open-mouthed horror at what happens when an ill-conceived premise leads to even more jaw-droppingly misguided execution. Let other kids' movies bother with slick special effects: Every aspect of Superbabies feels locked in the past, from Voight's Hitler mustache to a Whoopi Goldberg cameo to the Fitzgeralds' one-liners (provided by voiceover actor David Kaye), which traffic in slang and catchphrases 10 years past their cultural expiration date. Intermittently hypnotic in its awfulness, the film possesses an Ed Wood-like quality. "None of this makes much sense," laments harried father and child-entertainment entrepreneur Scott Baio late in the film. His sentiment will likely be shared by much of the movie's bewildered audience.