A newborn sprog, Mikey (Willis) voices over his lovelorn mother's attempts to find the perfect father for her son, whilst too-slick-to-convince cabby James (Travolta) realises that the way to a woman's heart is through her kid.
Despite the amiable charms of the central couple of Cheers' Kirstie Alley and a back-from-the-dead John Travolta, it is director Heckerling's goofy willingness to let her imagination run riot that prevents her film from sinking into soap.
Nothing in this breezy screwball comedy, however, quite matches the chutzpah of its opening scene in which the wiseass voice of Bruce Willis leads a sperm charge which only he survives. Conducted to the accompaniment of The Beach Boys' I Get Around, this tour-de-force of special effects immediately establishes Willis's wry yet incredulous voice as the central thread in Heckerling's hit-and-miss look at life from a baby's point of view. The combination of Willis's adult tones with the succession of blonde beauties who play baby Mikey provides just enough jokes to keep this slight conceit from drowning in a sea of sentiment as Mikey aids his mother Mollie in her search for the perfect father.
When Mollie is impregnated by her sleazy married lover Albert (the delightfully self-obsessed George Segal), she finds herself alone and without a job. Cabbie James (Travolta) takes her on a helter-skelter ride to the hospital, then finds himself staying on to assist at the birth and hanging around as a babysitter. Albert's betrayal has made Mollie wary of men and set her on a quest to find "the perfect father" for Mikey. Naturally, baby sets about showing her that the man they both need is right under her nose.
The plot may be slight but it is the incidental digs at American yuppiedom and baby Mikey's astonishment at his elders which maintain the plentiful, if rather scattershot laughs. Like most baby comedies, Look Who's Talking uses its kids to shine a light on adult antics. These grown-ups are ultimately too cardboard to count for much but Travolta and co. seem happy enough to ignore W.C. Fields's advice and let the baby come out on top.
A novel concept but one which fails to rise above the standards of Alley's Cheers.
Reviewed by Mark Cooper