HONEY, I BLEW UP THE KID (1992)
I’ve hit the ’90s in my quest to watch through the 52 worst live action Disney movies, and to be honest, I kind of expected things to go a lot worse. Randal Kleiser’s Honey, I Blew Up the Kid may be one of the funnest movies I’ve watched all year, and I’m honestly pretty surprised. Previous sequels to zany science movies that I’ve watched haven’t panned out (I’m looking at you, Son of Flubber). Has Honey, I Shrunk the Kids been blessed with a worthy franchise continuation?
Absent-minded scientist Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis) has sold the rights to his kid-shrinking ray to
Pym Technologies Sterling Labs, and isn’t adjusting well to corporate life. Meanwhile, his teenage son Nick (Robert Oliveri) is a sexually frustrated nerd, and his toddler Adam (Daniel and Joshua Shalikar) is a rambunctious little devil. But on the whole, everything is going well, until his wife Diane (Marcia Strassman) leaves town for a few days to take daughter Amy (Amy O’Neill) to college. At this point, Wayne blows up the kid.
Sorry, no snarky quip here. This special effect is fantastic.
A lot of goofy giant baby hijinks ensue. I won’t go into them because this movie is legitimately enjoyable and you should watch it for yourself. Anyhow, the baby ends up getting even bigger.
This special effect isn’t as good, but that’s okay, because…
At this point the movie has turned into a campy homage to classic B-movie fare. Oh no, a giant terrifying monster! But the monster is a baby. Comedy gold! And there’s a wonderful supporting cast adding to the fun: a corporate dick who wants to shoot the baby (John Shea), an intense U.S. Marshal who joyrides an ice cream truck (Ron Canada), and an old scientist who melodramatically shouts out important plot points (Lloyd Bridges).
Any movie where Lloyd Bridges looks up at a giant toddler
and says, “Nothing can stop him now,” is good in my book.
So, yeah, baby gets huge, wreaks havoc. That’s pretty much the whole movie, and it’s just… wonderful.
There’s tons of stuff going on in Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. Obviously, the film is largely about the fear that being a parent is going to be too big of a responsibility to handle.
But on top of that, the movie also contains some messages about gender roles in rearing a child. See, the movie starts out with 1950s family unit of man, woman, 2.5 kids and a dog intact, and everything goes nice and smoothly. Baby Adam is rambunctious, but not abnormally so, and everyone is the right size.
Honey, the Kid is Regular-Sized.
But then the women are removed from the picture. With mother Diane and daughter Amy out of the picture, shit immediately goes down.
Less than ideal parenting.
In addition to the baby lasering, Wayne fucks up the one other parental responsibility with which he is tasked: explaining the birds and the bees to his son Nick. Naturally, he never gets around to it. Soon, bereft of any guidance on how to treat women, Nick has kidnapped his crush, gagged her, and tied her to a chair. (Admittedly, this is to prevent her from blabbing about his giant baby brother, but no matter the reason, it sure isn’t healthy.)
Throughout the rest of the movie, Wayne remains entirely unable to provide any viable solution to the problem he has created for his family. It is not until Diane steps up and uses her motherly skills that the baby is rescued. In terms of successful parenting, she literally dwarfs husband Wayne.
Again, GET IT?
Basically, the plot relies on the idea that men are incapable of providing the care that a child needs, and reinforces the tired stereotype that the mother’s role is first and foremost tending to her offspring. Is this the healthiest cliché to perpetuate? Not really. Some men are great fathers, and some women are lousy mothers, and a person’s gender shouldn’t dictate their role as part of a family unit. But hey, this is a movie about a giant baby, and while these old stereotypes are laced throughout, they aren’t offensively heavy-handed. So, eh, just note that they’re there and go about your business of watching a giant toddler play Godzilla.
WHY DON’T PEOPLE LIKE IT?:
To be completely honest, I loved the hell out of this movie. That being said, I remember that as a kid I had a very different opinion. I loved Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and Young Me wanted more of the same from the sequel. Watching it now, I am pleased as punch that the screenplay goes in a completely different direction than the original, but when you’re a ten-year-old who wants to see more kids camping out in LEGO pieces, this really doesn’t compare.
“The fuck is up with this baby playing a guitar?” – 10-Year-Old Me, if I wasn’t afraid of cussing.
I also remember disliking the opening lab scenes. Now they’re a fun jab at corporate assholery, but then I just thought they were a snore-fest. And to be fair, it’s over 20 minutes before any kids get blown up. That’s too long when your attention span sucks!
“Get to the giant ants!!!” – Soon-to-be-disappointed 10-Year-Old Me.
Furthermore, I totally didn’t understand that this was an homage to classic B-movies, and therefore missed out on all of the fun. ‘Cause if you don’t get that, this is mostly just a big stupid baby tromping around Las Vegas, and honestly I don’t know that that’s what kids of the ’90s wanted to see.
“*fart noise*” – 10-Year-Old Me.
I think Honey, I Blew Up the Kid relied just a little too heavily on humor for which its target audience wasn’t prepared. To paraphrase Back to the Future, “I guess you kids just aren’t ready for this yet, but your parents are going to love it.”
MOST REGRETTABLE MOMENT:
I already mentioned how Nick ties up and gags the girl he has a crush on. I haven’t mentioned that they go on to fall in love and make out in the back of a tiny car by the end of the movie. Honestly, it’s creepy enough that Nick trusses her up in the first place, but to have her get over it so quickly and end up as his prize at the end of the movie is just plain shitty.
Remember, boys, if you’re the hero of your own movie, you can get away with all sorts
of creepy shit and still be entitled to the girl you want at the end!
No movie is perfect, and Honey, I Blew Up the Kid has a couple of flaws, but on the whole, it’s a wonderful send-up of old B-movies with really fun special effects. Maybe a little too slow-moving for younger kids, but a lot of fun for someone with a better-developed attention span. It’s not often that a sequel is able to take the premise of the original and use it to craft a new and different story that capitalizes on the franchise’s strengths. Looking for some more size-changing fun after Ant-Man? Maybe it’s time you revisited the Szalinskis.
Blank Check (1994)