The Virginian-Pilot
                             THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT 
              Copyright (c) 1994, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: Thursday, July 7, 1994                 TAG: 9407070047
TYPE: Movie Review 
                                             LENGTH: Medium:   83 lines


IF EVERY BABY is goo-goo, ga-ga adorable, how come so many people grow up to be ugly?

The thought came during the 90 minutes it takes to unreel ``Baby's Day Out,'' a movie that would appear irresistible.

After all, any movie that has a 9-month-old baby crawling about has got to have SOME appeal. Right?

Well . . . sorta.

``Baby's Day Out'' is an effort by movie mogul John Hughes to stretch his ``Home Alone'' franchise a bit further. With Macauley Culkin's savvy daddy demanding big money for Mack's work, why not hire twin babies to play the part instead? Kids love to see adults get mauled, maimed and tortured. There's money in pleasing them - even if they do pay just half price.

Baby Bink is the child of rich, spoiled and seemingly immature parents who mainly want to get Bink's picture in the paper. They hire a photographer and are mortified when the baby is kidnapped by the phony cameraman.

The baby proceeds to crawl across Chicago in a series of slapstick routines that date back to silent movies - including the stunts of Harold Lloyd and the slap-punch routines of The Three Stooges.

The cuteness level of the movie rests entirely upon identical twins Adam Robert and Jacob Joseph Worton, who play Baby Bink. The baby could have been expressive and irresistible in every moment and every scene. Instead, it is clear in every scene that neither baby is really there.

The film is made up almost entirely of reaction shots in which the baby is obviously never in any danger or hardly even involved in the scene in question. Add Baby Bink's reaction to each adult situation and you have a movie.

Joe Mantegna, a serious actor with Broadway credits, plays the Moe role of the Three Stooges who are the kidnappers.

The funniest scene is when the baby crawls into the gorilla cage at the zoo. When the villains try to sneak Baby out, the gorilla settles the dispute with one punch. Things are woefully sunk by switching from baby mayhem back to tearful mommy, whom Lara Flynn Boyle chooses to play as if this were total tragedy. Indeed, there is nothing remotely humorous about losing a child. The fact that Hughes' script keeps reminding us of this is a serious mistake. Cynthia Nixon, as the distraught nanny, adds distracting trauma.

A good deal of humor could have been added by making more of the three men's problems dealing with a tot - problems with changing diapers and such. There is some deadpan humor in having noted attorney Fred Dalton Thompson playing an FBI agent in pursuit of the baby. He keeps a sadsack face when he orders his driver to ``go back to the tick-tock and get the boo-boo.''

At the screening I attended, the kids behind me were more entertaining than the movie. ``Baby going upstairs,'' one of them said when Baby Bink ascended the skyscraper. ``What's that stuff?'' another asked when Mantegna was doused in cement. While Mom threatened to take them home, another clique kept loudly shushing the kids.

Put all the warring factors together and it was rather enjoyable. For comedy - the kiddie audience's refreshingly honest comments to the screen. For suspense - would the Mom carry out her threats to either take away popcorn or take them home? For conflict - would the ``Shhhh!'' throng ever openly rebel against the kiddies? And the final review - not many of the kids rushed to the bathroom. That, in itself, is a good review for the movie.

On screen, ``Baby's Day Out'' takes the obvious and does nothing with it. With more baby-involvement, it could have been quite diverting. As it is, the baby is obviously photographed separately. ILLUSTRATION: Twins Adam Robert Worton and Jacob Joseph Worton play Baby Bink

in ``Baby's Day Out.''


``Baby's Day Out''

Cast: Joe Mantegna, Lara Flynn Boyle, Joe Pantoliano, Brian

Haley, Cynthia Nixon

Director: Patrick Read Johnson

Screenplay: John Hughes

MPAA rating: PG (violence, baby in peril)

Mal's rating: **

Locations: Greenbrier and Movies 10 in Chesapeake; Circle 6 and

Main Gate in Norfolk; Lynnhaven Mall and Pembroke in Virginia Beach

by CNB