Sony // 1990 // 80 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Norman Short (Retired) // November 8th, 2000
With a fine cast, director Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) decided to try to build on the successful comedy Look Who's Talking by making a sequel. If you really liked the first film you might enjoy the sequel, but it doesn't quite have the charm of the original. If you didn't like the first entry, you will not like this one either. Columbia TriStar has now released the film on DVD with a choice of anamorphic or pan and scan transfers, decent audio, and few extras.
In the first film, part-time pilot and cabbie James (John Travolta) ends up with Mollie (Kirstie Alley) and are happily raising their son Mikey (voiced by Bruce Willis). Taking up where that film left off, we have the couple conceiving their second child, this time a daughter (voiced by Roseanne Barr). Difficulties in the relationship are exacerbated by Mollie's ne'er do well brother (Elias Koteas) moving in for an extended stay. The marriage is threatened and the kids have their own sibling rivalries going, as Mikey, now a toddler, is on the quest to become potty trained. Will the couple get back together? Will the kids get along? Will Mikey learn to "potty all the time"? The suspense is killing me.
The basic premise of the two Look Who's Talkings is that babies talk like adults to each other, although adults don't understand. This is a cute premise, made even funnier since Bruce Willis has a flip, improvisational style as he interprets the scene from young Mikey's viewpoint. There are a fair number of chuckles to be had just from these lines.
"Cute" would be the word to describe much of the rest of the cast. John Travolta and Kirstie Alley are definitely going for that with a homespun quality added in. Gilbert Gottfried has a small role as the head of a hectic day care center that worked.
Columbia has done a nice job with the anamorphic transfer side of the disc. The source print is very clean and doesn't have much in the way of grain to harm the picture quality. Colors are well balanced and natural looking. As for the pan and scan side, I submit to you that if you would actually choose to watch a cropped and chopped picture over a widescreen one, then picture quality is not the biggest factor in your decision about a DVD. Sound is only Dolby 2.0, but this is a typical comedy soundtrack with little need for directionality to the rear. The score is the main use for the surrounds, and the basically front anchored soundstage is firmly set to the center in this dialogue driven film with only occasional need for the main channels. Standard talent files and trailers are all that is offered for bonus features. The trailers for Look Who's Talking Now, Baby Geniuses, and Stuart Little complete the extra content.
The sad fact is that the film goes to the well once too often. The first film was a cute novelty, but doing the same thing again didn't move me. Adding the second child was necessary from the standpoint of a sequel, but horrible miscasting in the new baby's voice hurt the film. Roseanne Barr is actually funny when she is doing her brash blue-collar shtick, but as a baby exploring the world for the first time she is completely out of her element. I liken her voice here to the awful choice of Rosie O'Donnell in Tarzan. In both cases the voice itself is jarring and the lines almost don't matter as the person, not the character, distracts you. The story itself is formulaic to the extreme, and there are few things noteworthy enough to make it entertaining. A few cute scenes, a few funny lines, but not enough to hold up the entire film; even at a short 80 minute running time.
I really have no complaints about the disc, despite the less than compelling extra content. This was a pure catalog title without fanfare for Columbia, and the abundance of language and subtitle tracks took the place of anything else. I'm guessing this film has a bigger international draw than it does in the US.
I'm sure the film has some fans, especially those who really liked the first picture. Those people will enjoy the disc, as a rental most likely. The picture and sound quality is more than adequate for a purchase for the true fans. Most readers will not find this interesting enough to buy it, and might only rent it as part of a double feature with Look Who's Talking, which is the better of the two films.
I'm not going to impose a harsh sentence on this cute little family film. I didn't care for it, but it is inoffensive fluff that doesn't need punishment. I will impose an injunction against Roseanne Barr against appearing as a baby in a film. Columbia is acquitted for this DVD, without prejudice.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Portuguese)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)
* Ancient Sumerian
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 1990
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Talent Files