This is about as high concept as comedies come. An adorable baby, voiced by an adult man known for being a wiseass action hero! I’ll bet it sold in the room.
The Look Who’s Talking franchise is a strange hybrid of adult humor and innocuous family film shenanigans. With tough guy Bruce Willis voicing Mikey the baby, one can understand the instinct to go for off-color gags, though the same gimmick could have been very PG and kid-friendly. The film we got can’t make up its mind, and that confusion carries through its two sequels, too. Unfortunately, the central conceit feels half-baked. Mikey sometimes has the naiveté of a child, and sometimes the knowledge of an adult. He understands what his parents say! His lips move when he… thinks? So many questions come up.
As it turns out, Look Who’s Talking is too inconsistent to be either “for adults” or “for kids,” which the PG-13 rating indicated back then, though the first film was a massive hit, for some reason. I’ll admit that Kirstie Alley and John Travolta have a fun chemistry, and are charming comedic performers in their individual scenes, too. In fact, I was usually more invested in their relationship than anything involving the kids.
Look Who’s Talking is best remembered by me as my introduction to sex ed, as George Segal’s sperm descend upon Kirstie Alley’s ovaries like Vikings on a raid, likening every conception to gang rape. That gives way to other nightmarish in utero special effects, like fetus Mikey. I enjoyed the slightly sillier Look Who’s Talking Too, because it gave Mikey someone to talk to, at least — and also gifts us with a talking toilet voiced by Mel Brooks, which is the kind of crazy you can only get out of an early 90s family comedy.
These films all put young children in a questionable amount of mortal danger, and contain some humor that is way too sexual for kids, and some jokes that are way too dumb for adults. I was expecting more from Amy Heckerling, the writer/director of Clueless, but this series was pretty ill-conceived despite intermittently amusing moments. This bun needed to stay in the oven.