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Mollie is a single mum who's on the lookout for a reliable and normal boyfriend. Her son Mikey, (unbeknownst to her) seems to have a better idea of which of the men she dates would make a good father figure! If only she could understand him... Written by
Murray Chapman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
An underrated gem and one of the best comedies of the 80's ...
"Look Who's Talking" is an enjoyable and entertaining comedy whose best achievement is to tackle very adult subjects with never falling in the trap of crude and unreasonably vulgar humor, the material contains very explicit sexual undertones, yet from beginning to end, it's still an original, a daring and endearing film, and yes maybe one of the best comedies of the 80's.
I might be biased by using the word 'best' since the movie has always been one of my favorite as a child, and one of the few that I could recite line by line, scene by scene, but I trust my maturity even as a 10-year old kid, I have an alibi, I didn't like the sequel even at that time, so I know I loved the film not just because it was featuring sexual material or a kid talking like an adult, it was a funny, warm and entertaining story. And to understand why this film is great on so many levels, you just need to watch the sequels.
In fact, the whole "Look Who's Talking" premise, which is about hearing the kid's thoughts, spoken by an adult voice, Bruce Willis, as original and clever as it is, would have been pointless if the film wasn't driven by a real story that could appeal to the parents who'd come with their kids in the theater. If the baby was the focus, it would have been a cute but forgettable film just like "Baby's Day Out", something funny but without substance, or worse, a cult oddity à la "Howard the Duck", but Amy Heckerling's film was about a mother looking for a fatherly figure to raise her son.
And even this synopsis could have lead to a lesser film, if it wasn't for a nice touch of casting with Kirstie Alley as Mollie, and John Travolta as James, the first come-back before "Pulp Fiction". There's something so natural growing between these two actors, who were not big stars at that time, and maybe that contributed not to distract the film from its simplicity. In a way, this is what makes the film slightly better, or more appealing than "When Harry Met Sally ", because it doesn't look marketed to touch hearts, simple actors, a cast of honorable supporting stars, George Segal, Olympia Dukakis, Abe Vigoda, no big stars, but a great story although, for the movie's defense, I think it should have garnered some Golden Globe nominations in the Comedy/Musical category, if only for the lead roles.
What makes the Alley-Travolta duo work, beyond the well-written script, is the great chemistry both have together, something that takes its time to become a reality, but when it happens, we know we're not watching cinematic clichés but real people. There's also another element, which is the genuine and authentic love both have for Mikey, the baby. Mollie doesn't play a mother, she's a real mother, as tough, vulnerable, hysterical or passionate as any other, and the complicity between James and Mikey is one of the things that I think touched me the most as a kid. James was more than a baby-sitter, he was a buddy for Mikey, and isn't this the true cement of a father-and-son relationship, being best friends?
Again, the film deals with these subjects without flirting with stereotypes, it has the guts to evoke artificial insemination, to feature a hilarious scene of fecundation with spermatozoa riding their way to the targeted ovule following the "Get Around" Beach Boys' song, and it's always fun and charming because the material is treated with the level of humor that doesn't make you feel guilty to appreciate what you watch. That way, the movie is worth many Sex Ed programs: indeed, my little brother never had to ask how we 'made babies' after this. The movie also features some borderlines lines as when the mother says that the artificial insemination "is the kind of thing a girl does if she's very ugly or a lesbian." Offensive? Maybe but wouldn't a mother talk like that to her daughter?
This is the film's strength, every character speaks truly, the way we would expect and all these realistic interactions with the baby Mikey as the sentimental core, provides a great comedy film and so many memorable moments, among which my favorite, is the great dance sequence between John Travolta and the baby with "I'm Walkin' on the Sunshine". There is one part where Travolta holds Mikey in his arms and a smile of joy which in no way, looks acted, I know the "Pulp Fiction" dance sequence will forever be revered as one of the greatest Travolta's moments but this one will always come as a close second in my memories.
"Look Who's Talking" is a charming little film, with 'little' as a compliment, it never tries to exceed the limits of its ambitions, and is short enough not to drag on some parts, the music, the writing, the characterization, everything contributes to create this enjoyable feeling. And to end on an anecdote, I watched the film videotaped and for some reason, my dad stopped the recording right when the ending credits started, so I never saw the scene where they visit Mollie with her newborn baby Julie, the scene announcing the second opus.
Apparently, Heckerling was already planning to make a sequel, but when "Look Who's Talking" was over, when we knew who'd be Mikey's father, when we heard his cute little voice, and saw what a movie where we could hear the voice of baby would look like, then what was the purpose of a sequel? How could have it been as original or appealing? I would have asked 'why' myself if I saw this, and this is why I failed to appreciate the sequel as a kid, and even more as an adult.
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