BERLIN –“The Milky Life” is one of the most bizarre concepts in memory, and one of the worst executed. This tasteless and painfully unfunny film, a Euro-pudding with no distinguishing features, will probably emerge as a cult item because of its very awfulness.
Imagine Mickey Rooney with shaved head wearing nothing but diapers and talking baby talk. That’s the gimmick here, and it’s an unworthy one.
Rooney plays Barry Reilly, an 80-year-old millionaire who lives in a huge castle on the California coast with his sponging family, including William Hootkins as his oafish son.
When his promiscuous granddaughter gives birth to a baby boy, the old man becomes attached to the cuddly little sprig.
He thereupon decides to become a baby himself, and has his lawyer draw up papers demanding his appalled family’s acceptance of the situation. He cuts off their funds, cancels their credit cards and reverts to early childhood.
Enter Marianne Sagebrecht (of “Bagdad Cafe” fame) who becomes his wet nurse. Scenes in which Rooney suckles the portly femme, and later gets into bed with her, will have little appeal for most audiences. Also, the actor is pushed around in a pram, bathed and generally treated like an infant.
Things get even worse when burglars rob the mansion and hit Barry over the head. He wakes up able to speak only baby talk, but can communicate with his great-grandson (their “dialogue” is translated in subtitles).
By a wide stretch of the imagination, this might have worked if the script had been witty, but wit is totally absent.
Rooney gives it the old college try, but this was a role he wasn’t born to play. Sagebrecht looks embarrassed, as well she might. The rest don’t register, though the baby is cute. Mark this down as a major folly.