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Look Who's Talking
★★☆☆☆
First run Theater cinema

Kirstie Alley stars as a New York accountant named Molly who, after getting knocked up and dumped by her married lover (George Segal), decides to find the perfect father for her soon-to-be-born child. John Travolta plays a cab driver named James (one of those really handsome ‘80s New York cab drivers that also flies a plane). Molly happens to be riding in James’ cab when she goes into labor and soon becomes her babysitter. They become fast friends and he helps her on her quest to find the perfect Daddy for her baby, which, of course, turns out to be him. 

Written and directed by Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Johnny Dangerously, National Lampoon's European Vacation), this slight and silly film takes itself just seriously enough to not become tedious but never dips into schmaltz. It was the first major “comeback” for Travolta, who was suffering a bit of a "box-office poison" reputation by this point. Most of his mid-80s output (Two of a Kind, Perfect, The Experts) had been bombs—and even his early ‘80s films that are well-remembered now, like Blow Out, were not the box office successes we sometimes remember them as. But Look Who’s Talking, in which, the Travolta claims, he plays the character that is closest to his own personality, was a runaway hit that made him a major star again. He followed this up with two sequels, both of which underperformed, as well as with a couple of other forgettable roles that sunk his star again until his next comeback picture, Pulp Fiction, essentially insulated him from all the other bad movies he’d go on to make. 

But the true breakout star of the movie is Bruce Willis, who voices the inner thoughts of Molly’s baby from utero through age two. Willis was not Heckerling's first choice for the voice of Baby Mikey; she originally hoped for a comedian like Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, John Candy, or (of course) Robin Williams. But when none of them were interested or available, she approached Willis who, despite having just become a major action star with the previous year’s Die Hard, was known as a wisecracking charmer from his days as a Hollywood bartender to his incredibly successful run on the TV show Moonlighting. Willis apparently did the film as a lark. Instead of taking a salary for his couple of days of voice work, he asked for a percentage of the gross, assuming it would be a pittance. But when Look Who’s Talking became the fourth biggest hit of 1989, bested only by Indiana Jones and the Last CrusadeBatman, and Back to the Future Part II, Willis was paid over $10 million—more than twice what he made for starring in Die Hard.

While this is a serviceable romantic comedy, its talking baby gimmick ultimately overpowers the story.    

Twitter Capsule:
Heckerling's amusing, well-cast romantic comedy about a single mom looking for the perfect Daddy is overpowered by the gimmick that made it such a colossal hit—Bruce Willis voicing the inner thoughts of the baby.
Directed by Amy Heckerling
Produced by Jonathan D. Krane

Written by Amy Heckerling

With: John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Olympia Dukakis, George Segal, Abe Vigoda, the voices of Bruce Willis, and Joan Rivers

Cinematography: Thomas Del Ruth
Editing: Debra Chiate
Music: David Kitay

Runtime: 93 min
Release Date: 13 October 1989
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Color