In 1999, a movie called Baby Geniuses debuted to thunderously bad reviews. Featuring a cast of astonishingly good actors like Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd, Kim Cattrall, and Ruby Dee, this movie got ostensibly marketed as a family comedy, appropriate for viewers of all ages. But you don't need to closely examine the premise to see how Baby Geniuses is one of the most bizarre '90s movies. If you put even a little thought into the plot, this "family comedy" suddenly becomes odd and off-the-wall at best, and downright disturbing at worst.
Though Baby Geniuses plays out like some warped fever dream, many viewers still hold a particular fondness for it. It's taken its place alongside messed up but still beloved children's classics, such as Space Jam, The Pagemaster, and Spy Kids. Baby Geniuses might be the best worst movie of them all.
The plot of Baby Geniuses is driven by the central fact that babies get locked in an underground laboratory and subjected to experiments. The babies were abandoned at the local orphanage, and Dr. Kinder (Kathleen Turner) adopted them for the sole purpose of turning them into tiny geniuses.
However, her intent isn't to turn them into geniuses for the good of the world - Dr. Kinder and her colleague Dr. Heep (Christopher Lloyd) only wanted to study them.
One of the more unsettling aspects of Baby Geniuses is the iffy use of CGI to make the babies appear as if they're talking. In many instances, the words, which are spoken at an adult intellect, neither entirely match up with the lips nor do the mouths seem to fit with the babies' faces entirely.
The result is a scary mashup of baby faces with adult mouths that never quite wholly work in unison.
The troublemaking baby named Sylvester has a twin brother, Whit. Neither Sylvester nor Whit are aware of the other's existence, but they meet by chance in a mall playground. Then they get mistaken for one another, and their caretakers each take home the wrong kid. This is when Sylvester starts communicating telepathically to Whit to break him out of the laboratory.
We also learn that Sylvester has the power to hypnotize adults.
Dr. Kinder and Dr. Heep manage to figure out that, before they learn to speak like humans, babies inherently possess all the knowledge in the world. In these first couple of years, their babble is a secret language that holds all their innate wisdom. But when they learn to speak as adults, babies lose this wisdom.
How the doctors came to this conclusion isn't ever entirely clear, except that it's based on some dubious ancient Tibetan theory.