Baby's Day Out (1994) starring Joe Mantegna, Lara Flynn Boyle, Joe Pantoliano, Brian Haley, Cynthia Nixon, Fred Dalton Thompson directed by Patrick Read Johnson Movie Review

Baby's Day Out (1994)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Adam Robert Worton/ Jacob Joseph Worton as Baby Bink in Baby's Day Out (1994)

Adventures in Being a Baby

Take the Three Stooges and combine with some slapstick violence akin to "Home Alone" and what you have is "Baby's Day Out" a John Hughes movie. Now there is much to like about "Baby's Day Out" especially Joe Mantegna, Joe Pantoliano and Brian Haley doing a nice job of playing 3 inept criminals accidentally outsmarted by a baby. But at the same time there is something not to like and that is simply "Baby's Day Out" ends up boring because it is repetitive, criminals chase baby and they get hurt, criminals chase bay and they get hurt and on and on. Young children probably won't care but those over the age of thirteen who find themselves watching this will find it too long and repetitive.

Society husband and wife Bennington and Laraine Cotwell (Matthew Glave and Lara Flynn Boyle) are happy because today is the day that baby Bink, is going to be photographed and appear in the social pages of a paper. But their joy turns to horror when Baby Bink is kidnapped by 3 criminals masquerading as photographers leaving a ransom note behind. But these kidnappers have their own horror because in their ineptness they lose Baby Bink who goes crawling all around the city with them in toe trying to catch him again.

Brian Haley, Joe Mantegna and Joe Pantoliano in Baby's Day Out (1994)

So "Baby's Day Out" is simple, in fact it is one of the simplest John Hughes movies I have watched because it basically revolves around 3 Stooge like kidnappers stealing a baby, losing it and then getting hurt trying to get the baby back. That is pretty much it, oh there is a tiny bit of cleverness in the fact that having evaded the kidnappers the baby goes around the city seeing sights in the same order as in his favourite book but that is as clever as it gets. Not that there is anything wrong with being this simple because for young children the simplicity works.

So what that means is that "Baby's Day Out" is all about the slapstick of are trio of inept kidnappers trying to get the baby back and every time getting hurt in some way. So from Eddie getting smacked in the face with a plank to Norby falling in a container of wet cement there is a strong stream of humour as Baby Bink goes sight seeing at a Zoo, department store, construction site and park. The trouble is that it does just become one moment of slapstick violence after another and it makes it feel very tedious for those over the age of thirteen especially when many of these set pieces are text book slapstick. In a way "Baby's Day Out" needed to be a short, a movie maybe 70 minutes long at most because for so much of its 99 minute duration it feels repetitive. Again probably not an issue for younger audiences but for those older watchers will find it becoming a bit mind numbing.

But despite this there is something which is very good about "Baby's Day Out" and that is the trio of Joe Mantegna, Joe Pantoliano and Brian Haley because they play nice bad guys. They maybe kidnappers but they're not out right evil and so when they get hurt you laugh, although a scene featuring roasted nuts maybe pushing things a little too far.

What this all boils down to is that "Baby's Day Out" is a fun little comedy for young audiences who will enjoy the incessant slapstick violence. But because that is all it becomes one slapstick prat fall after another it is tedious for older audiences.