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Movie Review

SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 is the follow-up to 1999's Baby Geniuses. In it, four tiny tots team up with 7-year-old "defender of children everywhere" Kahuna to thwart media mogul Bill Biscane's plot to enslave the world through powerful subliminal TV programming.

Babies start bouncing at day-care center BobbinsWorld, in the stewardship of Stan and Jean Bobbins. (Stan's brother from the first film owns the center but is busy saving children overseas.) The Bobbins are feverishly preparing for the arrival of Mr. Biscane, who, at this point in the film, is an internationally recognized advocate of children and orphans. Biscane has chosen the Bobbins' upscale L.A. day care to premier his new television show for kids. Stan hopes the exposure will turn the day care into a nationally known brand, "the McDonald's of day care." Biscane has other ideas.

As the Bobbinses work themselves into a high-stress lather over the impending visit, four toddlers—Archie, Finkleman, Rosita and Alex—sit talking to one another in a play area. To the casual observer, it looks as if they're just muttering baby gibberish. But Jean becomes convinced that they're actually having a conversation. And she's right: Archie is telling the other toddlers about the legend of Kahuna, a 7-year-old überspy who thwarted the evil Nazi-like commander Kane's plot to enslave orphaned East German children.

The other babies dismiss Archie's tall tale. But they soon discover that Kahuna is no legend when he comes to their rescue—which they desperately need after getting unwittingly dragged into Biscane's malevolent sights—tricked out with all the requisite Bond-like hardware, including a snazzy rocket-powered three-wheeler. Along the way, Kahuna empowers the babies to believe in themselves, revealing each one's superpower!

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Positive Elements

SuperBabies majors on the importance of friendship, teamwork and believing in yourself. It communicates that orphans and children who can't defend themselves are valuable and worthy of life and happiness. It minors on healthy family ties and parents who love you. It also encourages kids to quit watching TV and do something more active with their friends.

Spiritual Content

At his Hollywood hideout, Kahuna levitates several feet off the ground in the lotus position (eyes closed, feet crossed, palms up with thumbs and middle fingers touching) while talking to one of the toddlers.

Sexual Content

None.

Violent Content

SuperBabies is a superhero/spy-movie hybrid with several scenes of comic-book style hand-to-hand combat. Kahuna's powers enable him to dispatch Biscane's lackeys handily. In one scene he improvises, à la Jackie Chan, by stepping into two small garbage cans and using them as weapons against his opponents. He kicks one assailant in the head with one can and uses the other as a makeshift projectile.

The finale pits Kahuna and the four superhero toddlers against Biscane and his henchmen. After Stan gets decked by a bad guy, his wife steps up and kicks the goon hard in the groin. One of the onlooking superbabies comments, "Ooh, right in the forbidden zone."

Overall, the battle scenes have a weird Three Stooges vibe. Kahuna even goes so far as to poke an attacker in the eyes with two fingers (Moe's signature). The film also manages to rip off a number of signature fight moves from The Matrix, including Kahuna running on walls, flying through the air kicking opponents repeatedly and rotating around a staff while attacking a circle of foes. Since this is PG-tomfoolery, though, the worst that ever happens to the bad guys is that they're knocked unconscious; no blood, no gore.

In an attempt to disable Biscane's satellite transmitter, Kahuna's laser beam is reflected back at him and his helicopter, apparently vaporizing both of them.

Crude or Profane Language

Stan's teenage niece, Kylie, says "Oh my god" four times. Another character also misuses God's name. Other language is restricted to such terms as "heck," "geek," "shut up" and "booger."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Kane smokes a cigarette in one scene and raises a shot glass toast to one of his lieutenants in another.

Other Negative Elements

The film stereotypes Rosita as a tough tomboy and Finkleman as soft and effeminate. While helping Kylie get ready for a date, Rosita complains that girl stuff isn't really her specialty; Finkleman proudly announces that he'll "get in touch with his feminine side."

Kahuna puts on a pair of "four-wheel drive" rollerblades and hitches himself to a moving truck. Since the truck is moving pretty slow, and it looks as if it's easy for the 7-year-old to do, some attentive kids may decide it'd be cool to try it for themselves. Not a good idea.

Conclusion

King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, "There is nothing new under the sun." No movie I've seen recently drives home that truth as well as SuperBabies does, and the result is dreadful. Look Who's Talking plus Spy Kids plus James Bond plus Austin Powers plus Inspector Gadget plus The Matrix plus Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles plus Hogan's Heroes equals disaster on too many levels to count.

Specific objectionable elements in SuperBabies are mild—comedic Nick Jr. violence is about as bad as it gets. But being relatively family-friendly doesn't make a movie viewer-friendly. As the credits rolled, all I could silently groan was, "Well, I'm 89 minutes closer to retirement!" Watching babies babble their way through artificially-animated situations and stunts left me more than a little cold. There's just something about it that's, um, unnatural. It seems to me that kids grow up fast enough. Do we really need to cast toddlers as superheroes and assign them adult mannerisms?

I've often heard Philippians 4:8 quoted in the context of media discernment as it relates to content: "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." But I wonder if we don't need to apply it to a movie such as SuperBabies as well. It's not impure and offensive in the way, say, Kill Bill is, but surely its absolute mediocrity is anything but excellent or praiseworthy.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

PG

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Jon Voight as Bill Biscane; Scott Baio as Stan Bobbins; Vanessa Angel as Jean Bobbins; Skyler Shaye as Kylie; Justin Chatwin as Zack Gerry, Leo, and Myles Fitzgerald as Kahuna; Max and Michael Iles as Archie; Jared and Jordan Scheideman as Finkleman; Maia and Keana Bastidas as Rosita; Joshua and Maxwell Lockhart as Alex

Director

Bob Clark ( )

Distributor

Sony Pictures

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Adam R. Holz

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