Eric’s Bad Movies & What’s the Big Deal – May 6

Since there’s that documentary called “Babies” coming out this week, now seemed like as good a time as any to cover “Baby Geniuses” for Eric’s Bad Movies.

Not that there is ever a good time for this. I had seen “Baby Geniuses” before, back in 1999, when I was a new film critic. It had escaped my notice when it was released, but in December, when my fellow reviewers were talking about the Worst Movies of the Year, “Baby Geniuses” kept coming up. I felt compelled to watch it, still tantalized, in those days, by the prospect of seeing something truly AWFUL. (Now it is old hat, of course.)

When I watched it again, last week, I’d forgotten many of the details, so it was sort of a fresh experience, like when you fall off your bike and get a big scab on your knee, and then it heals, and then you do it again.

Be sure to enjoy the audio component of the article, linked about two-thirds of the way down.

Whenever I ask for suggestions for Eric’s Bad Movies, I always say “no comedies, please.” When people ignore that and suggest comedies anyway, “Baby Geniuses” is one of the ones they suggest. The reason I don’t want comedies — as I’ve explained numerous times — is that it is very hard to make fun of a movie that already doesn’t take itself seriously. That’s all it is. Some columns are easy to write; others are hard. When the subject is a comedy, it’s hard, and the results are often not very funny. I will grant you that I have successfully done it on occasion — I think the “Baby Geniuses” thing came out OK — but it has nearly always been arduous and soul-sapping. Comedies with a fantasy or sci-fi hook to them, like this one, are a little easier to handle. Still, the appearance of a comedy in Eric’s Bad Movies is to be a rare exception, and only when I feel ambitious enough to struggle with a difficult writing assignment.

Also at this week is What’s the Big Deal?, about “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” A fine film, this is. It moves pretty swiftly and has a lot of funny parts, and it stars Jimmy Stewart at his most likable, which is really saying something.

(By the way, that thing I talked about on Monday, where I thought maybe I was pregnant, it turned out to be nothing. Not kidney stones, not appendicitis, not anything. The rest of the day was normal. Very weird. Still might be pregnant, though, so I’m not drinking anymore, just in case.)