Sunday, December 2, 2012

25 Days of Christmas Movies 2012 - Day 2: A Misguided Sequel and a Decent Christmas Film

There are some things from my youth that I remember quite fondly.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, chocolate cake with confetti icing, toy slime...but right there in the middle of that list is the film Look Who's Talking.  It was a cute film for the time and still a fairly funny if dated 80s comedy now, but it is not as fondly remembered as others from the era or even director Amy Heckerling's more beloved works, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless.  However there was something to the formula of talking babies, Kirsty Alley and John Travolta.  Then came the inevitable sequel, Look Who's Talking Too, which added another baby to the mix and repeated many of the jokes to lesser effect (yet it has the feel of a movie that was edited too much as there are huge time leaps between scenes...which makes me believe that perhaps there was a better film that got butchered).  The phenomenon of the first film died down and I'm pretty sure we all thought the film had run it's course.  Imagine my surprise when, in 1993, Tri-Star decided to release a third film in the series.  Wait?  Aren't those kids old enough now to no longer need a humorous inner-monolouge?  The screenwriters have thought of that for us, friends, so let's curl up with our pets and take a look at Look Who's Talking Now.

James and Mollie Ubriacco have been married for several years now and rather enjoy the married with children life...even if it presents them with stressful challanges in their lives.  Mikey, however, has begun asking for a dog and Mollie (and James, if rather reluctantly) both agree that their apartment is much too small for a dog.  Enter Rox, a playful and streetwise mutt with a mind of his own who falls for Mikey in a big way.  Mikey wants to take him home, but there is resistance.  Meanwhile, James has just gotten a new job as the private pilot for Samantha, a rich CEO of a large corporation and Mollie has been fired...forcing him to require more hours flying for Samantha and her to begin working as one of Santa's elves at a department store for the holidays.  Samantha also contributes to the dog problem by regifting to the Ubriacco's a well-trained poodle named Daphne.  So thus, the Ubriaccos end up with two dogs instead of one.  Mollie and James come to an agreement...whichever dog behaves the best through Christmas is the one who gets to stay.  Other complications arise when Samantha's intrests in James turn from professional to personal and Mikey begins to doubt the existence of Santa Claus.  Will Mikey keep believing?  Will James cheat on Mollie?  Will the movie give a significant plotline to Julie, the other kid in the house?  Is it even worth watching to find out?

Look Who's Talking Now is one of those shallow sequels that is obviously directed and designed by a different crew than the previous one, and yet tries to pretend as though it has the same look and feel.  This almost always fails and Now is no exception to the rule...thankfully, the Christmas season (and thus Christmas decor) takes over following the first fourth of the film and from then on it's ok for it to be different because we haven't seen Christmas with the Ubriaccos yet.  Other saving graces in the film include Alley and Travolta, still in top form despite the material (and having shown some character growth since the first and second films), and Danny DiVito and Diane Keaton who perform the inner voices of the two dogs.  Sadly, for all the moments the film gets right, it gets several dozen wrong...such as the hamfisted ending involving not one but two wolf attacks that Rox gets to save the family from and a radio broadcast by Santa Claus himself.  Also contrite and unnecessary is the repeated prenatal credits sequence which not is used to show the insemination of Rox rather than a human child as depicted in the first.  Still...as bad as it is, there have been worse films and honestly...in terms of Christmas comedies....this one is still better than a lot of the dreck out there that exists.  Kids will probably enjoy it and you might get a decent nostalgia high from it, but really that's all there is in this one.  Still...during at least two of the Christmas scenes I got those lovely warm-fuzzies and it helped put me in the spirit.  Maybe it will do even more for you.


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