Ever since I started doing Kid’s Film Fridays, Andy from the office has been pestering me to watch Baby’s Day Out. Some of you may know Andy from his review of Mamma Mia a couple of months back. I have been reluctant to subject myself to this flick over the years for two specific but not unrelated reasons. Firstly, the trailer made the movie look terrible. Secondly, it is the only film that my sister has ever walked out of at the cinema, and that was after she fell asleep during the show. So you can understand my trepidation when I pressed “play” tonight…
Andy, you’re a bad man.
A baby, known as Bink, is kidnapped from his mansion home by three idiots disguised as a photographer and his assistants. After the kidnapper watching him back at their hideout falls asleep, Bink escapes through an open window and goes on the run (or on the crawl at least) through Chicago, with the increasingly desperate kidnappers in hot pursuit AND NOT A SINGLE PERSON NOTICING A FUCKING BABY ON THE LOOSE IN CHICAGO! With Bink getting the better of them at every turn, will the kidnappers be able to corral him long enough to collect the ransom? Or will the little guy make it back home safe under his own steam? Do you even care? I sure as hell don’t.
Suspension of disbelief. That is what it’s called when the audience can buy into a story and accept what they see on the screen. No matter how fantastical or surreal a film is, talented filmmakers can usually reach the point of suspension of disbelief and bring you along into their movie. On this evidence, Patrick Read Johnson is not a talented filmmaker. Worse than that though: on this evidence, John Hughes was a no-talent hack who ripped off a bunch of old cartoons and Three Stooges skits and jammed them all into a 98-minute humour black hole. The man behind some of the best comedies of the eighties “wrote” this garbage. The fact that this film even exists just depresses me.
I can’t even summon the will to write any more about this. Baby’s Day Out has shat all over enough of my day already. So instead, I will leave you with a special treat: a video review from the good people at Red Letter Media.
Stay away from this film. Life’s too short.
…. I loved this movie when I was a kid. I think I even own it and it’s sitting around somewhere in my DVD collection. After reading your review, I am now absolutely terrified about revisiting it, but also oddly curious.
Be afraid. Be very afraid…
It is one of those movies that, when you’re watching it, you can’t help but be astounded that anyone thought it was a good idea.
Jeez, Ryan. Have you ever even SEEN any of my OTHER films? Please remember that I didn’t WRITE the script. I was charged with putting it, WORD FOR WORD, EXACTLY as it was WRITTEN, on FILM. I SUGGESTED to John that we show people constantly being distracted by the constant overstimulation of the modern world, so that they would always JUST MISS seeing the baby. John didn’t want any of that. And since John was not just the writer, but also the producer, (not to mention JOHN HUGHES) my job ultimately amounted to TRYING to make some logical sense out of a completely illogical premise. That having been said, a lot of people worked very hard to make that film. And a great many people enjoy it, not for it’s logic (or staggering lack thereof) but because they think it’s fun. I totally understand NOT liking a film, but really– your DAY was RUINED by it? That’s a lot of power to give to a movie. Hopefully you’ll like my next one better…
Patrick Read Johnson
I haven’t seen any of the other movies you’ve directed yet, but I have seen Dragonheart and I really enjoyed it. My review of that is here if you’re curious. This film didn’t work for me on any level though, and most if not all of the blame for that can be laid at the feet of John Hughes. As you say, it was a completely illogical premise to begin with and that is what took me out of the world you and Hughes were building here. What you have suggested could have gone a long way towards improving the film, and adding some actual relevant and insightful subtext. Whether Hughes fervently believed he had written the Citizen Kane of escaped baby movies or was just power-tripping off his own hype I will never know. I’d be interested to hear what he thought of the finished product though.
I get that a lot of people worked on this film and a lot of them did good work. I thought the Joes did well with what they had, and the SFX and compositing were particularly effective but a film is only as good as the script it is built on. At the risk of a little more vulgarity, you can’t polish a turd but you can roll it in glitter.
Coincidentally, I just saw the video interview you did with Harry Knowles earlier today about 5-25-77, and that one looks like it is much more up my alley.
Thanks for your response. All utterly fair and reasonable. I’m glad you enjoyed the interview with Harry. If you want to know more about 5-25-77, you might want to check out the website of this documentary that’s being made about its long journey to the screen: http://www.heartsofdorkness.com There’s a trailer there, and some fun photos and videos of this wild test screening/road trip adventure I’m currently on. I look forward to showing you the completed version of “5-25-77” in the near future.
Man, I’ve only known three other Andys my whole life and since I started my blog I’ve encountered at least five others. It’s like an Andy extravaganza.
Also, in regards to us Chicagoans not noticing a baby on the loose: We’re assholes.