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Hey, Where the Hell are My Kids?

Here's just another reason why you should never return home late Sunday night, flip on the television just to "see what's on."

Why, you ask? What can be so dangerous about a little harmless channel surfing?

Because you might stumble upon a program like "Baby Brokers." And then you will be doomed.

"Baby Brokers" is one of those TV movies that David Letterman so aptly describes as one of them Hey, Where the Hell are My Kids movies. All you need to make such a film is:

a) a true (or at least true enough) story about a woman who loses her kids/foster kids/adopted kids/nieces that were staying with her for the summer to some sort of swindler/deadbeat husband/child-swiping judge/white slave trader; and

b) a nifty title like "He Took My Kids," "Give Me Back My Kids," "I Want My Kids Back" or "That Bastard Took My Kids."

(It should be noted that on first glance at the eye-straining print in the T.V. Guide, I misread the title of this particular movie to be "Baby Bonkers." Frankly, that would have been just as appropriate.)

It took me about one minute to decipher the not-at-all Byzantine plot of "Baby Brokers." Simply put, a woman played the achingly awful Cybill Shepard wants to have a baby, yet is infertile (we should be so lucky that Shepard would be unable to procreate, thus sparing future generations of her acting prowess or lack of same). Desperate for a kid, she turns to the type of white trash woman that Holly Hunter used to play before she started winning Oscars for playing mute Australian white trash.

Well the white trash woman and her equally white trash husband turn out to be baby brokers -- scummy folks who make a living scamming dim bulbs like Cybill Shepard. What they do is, they give Cybill the kid in exchange for cash, take the kid back and then lit away in the dead of night like bandits. Supposedly, they make quite a living off of this, as Cybill and a crusading L.A. police detective played by a man with nice hair soon find out.

So what does Cybill do? She does what any person who has been wronged should do -- she turns to the almighty power of the media to tell her story and set things right.

Or more importantly, she goes on "Hard Copy."

Yes, the actual tabloid TV show "Hard Copy" is held up in "Baby Brokers" as the paragon of social responsibility when it comes to public interest journalism.

Even more surprising is that when Cybill's hard-luck story airs on Hard Copy, everyone in the free world is riveted to the set, and leads start pouring into the police detective, apparently the only man on the force not busy framing O.J.

The only two people apparently not watching Hard Copy are the Baby Brokers themselves, who instead have to read about the story the next day in the Las Vegas Journal, which -- as all newspapers do -- pick up a story from Hard Copy, run it on the front page and use a headline like COUPLE SOUGHT IN BABY BROKER RING in the same font that some papers would print JAPS BOMB PEARL HARBOR.

At this point, you may be wondering what planet "Baby Brokers" is set on. I know I was.

So anyhow, since the Baby Brokers have been pulling this stunt in states across the country, that brings the Feds into the picture, as this is now an intrastate fraud matter (this is the film's one nod to realism).

However, in a highly unusual law enforcement procedure, the FBI brings the crusading L.A. police detective with them to Las Vegas, Tennessee and all points in between, although these locales are a wee bit out of his jurisdiction. But in an extremely gross violation of FBI protocol, Cybill joins the FBI and the L.A. police detective not only in questioning witnesses but in the actual collar of the Baby Brokers.


I would be remiss if I did not mention that the L.A. police detective and Cybill fall in love, and that Cybill is able to adopt a baby from another woman... who heard about Cybill's hard-luck story while watching Hard Copy.

There are many reasons to hate this movie. First, its casual disregard of police procedure is appalling. Second it stars Cybill Shepard, who bares an uncanny resemblance to a girl who turned me down when I asked her to go to the junior prom. Third, it features Hard Copy in a prominent way.

But the reason I hate "Baby Brokers," is that during a commercial break, NBC aired that McDonald's commercial where Kelsey Grammer waxes philosophical about Egg McMuffins, "made with a freshly folded egg."

Umm, Kelsey? Eggs aren't supposed to fold.

The movie would have been okay had they named it "Baby Bonkers" instead.


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