Starring Jon Voight, Scott Baio, and Skyler Shaye. Rated general.
For all of the grousing about its cost and derivative design, Library Square has turned into a pretty nice addition to Vancouver's landscape. It's a good place to hang out, and it looks attractive when photographed. But after appearing in a string of dogs, it might need a new agent. It was a museum in Mr. Magoo. It was a laboratory in The Sixth Day. And there it is in Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, in the background, while an infant in a microhelicopter comes zooming up Georgia Street with a couple of black Suburbans in hot pursuit. If it's not careful, the Vancouver Public Library will become as synonymous for "a lousy time at the movies" as the phrase starring Michelle Pfeiffer.
Of course, if you needed that much of a clue to detect the crapulence of Superbabies, you are absolutely uncritical and/or under the age of six. My four-year-old's opinion was a measured and hesitant "It's all right." Predictably, his favourite moments were when the computer-enhanced toddlers in cutesy hero garb kicked the snot out of the bad grownups. It was kinda neat--but the wait was interminable! The movie (semisequel to Baby Geniuses, also directed by Canada's wildly uneven Bob Clark) is mostly buildup, consisting of lengthy dramatic and romantic dialogue (!) between preverbal day-care inmates. Some computer effects simulate lip movements, íƒ la Cats and Dogs, but the usual trick is just to cut away. Evidently, there was no budget beyond the two sets, the microhelicopter, and the fee for a German-accented Jon Voight, inexplicably slumming as the main bad guy, a fiendish broadcast mogul.
Or maybe not so inexplicable; Voight's goddaughter Skyler Shaye plays one of the day-care helpers, working for leathery but still-boyish Scott Baio. She tags along when her charges are transformed into the smallest action stars since Tom Cruise. The reason for their mutation has something to do with an immortal kid named Kahuna who drinks glowing fluid from a bottle. The plot was explained at extreme length but remains opaque, possibly because the movie was creeping me out by this point. The word anthropomorphism seems inexact--babies aren't just animals, albeit mostly in theory--but that's how the movie seems to treat its subjects. Then again, it's the only place to see a tiny kid stomping a guy in the balls (apart from my house), so I guess it gets the job done.