Picks and Pans Review: Look Who's Talking

updated 10/30/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/30/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

John Travolta, Kirstie Alley

Gosh all get-out, how cute can a movie be?

First, there's writer-director Amy (Johnny Dangerously) Heckerling's notion to have a baby convey his very mature, very articulate, very sarcastic thoughts via voice-over—in the voice of Bruce Willis. Then there's Travolta, who's a walking dumpling as the lovable, sweetie-pie, hunkaroo taxi driver who falls for the baby's unwed mother, Alley. And George Segal, a paragon of middle-aged cuteness ever since Where's Poppa?, as the baby's father (who's married to someone else), gets to say things like, "I know this sounds awful, but I'm going through a selfish period right now."

While all this preciousness might have been relieved a bit by a livelier, more original script, in this case the end product possesses all the charm and lightness of a half-risen soufflé.

Heckerling starts out wonderfully, with an animated opening-credits sequence that shows a herd (pack? flock? gang?) of sperm swimming madly in the uterus while the guy that is the baby-to-be calls out to his pals, "Come on, guys, it's this way!" The baby's delivery is shown from his point of view, and when he's out and in the hands of a doctor, he yells, "All right. Let go of my head and put me back in there."

Too many of the jokes are too lame, though. One of them is a confusion of Dr. Spock the pediatrician with Mr. Spock the Vulcan, which is hardly new. Another has the baby snapping at one of his mother's prospective boyfriends, "You dick!" Alley and Travolta are attractive and affable, though Travolta might have made a shrewder choice of comeback vehicles. Heckerling tends to let the baby's voice drop out for long periods of time, and the gimmick seems more artificial every time it comes back.

The four little boys who play the baby and the toddler Willis speaks for are an adorable quartet, especially Jason Schaller, who gets the most screen time and seems to have developed a playful rapport with Travolta. Vancouver was no doubt chosen as the movie's location for economic reasons, but the city comes off as airy, very attractive and green.

When you're paying attention to shrubberies and the nuances of 2-year-olds' acting techniques, though, it's a sign that a movie is less than engaging, as in look whose mind was wandering. (PG-13)

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