The Boss Baby is literally for babies. DreamWorks Animation isn’t known for its consistency, but I never expected a movie centered on a baby in a business suit. The Boss Baby is mostly based on a picture book of the same name. It’s a straightforward metaphor for newborn babies that feel like the boss of the house, but the movie is a lot weirder than you might expect. So weird that I was very confident in skipping The Boss Baby in theaters. Until my brother and I gave in to all the attention it was getting. Although The Boss Baby has its moments, they’re either too adult or too childish for me to be fully invested. With a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes, I’ll never understand how it was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards.
I’m a big fan of Rugrats, but other properties like Baby Geniuses prove baby movies are a tricky thing to get right. Frequent DreamWorks collaborator Alec Baldwin now voices a literal boss baby named Boss Baby. I’ve never seen Glengarry Glen Ross, so most of the office humor doesn’t appeal to me. The only thing I can relate to is the brother dynamic between Boss Baby and his new brother Tim Templeton. The seldom seen Tobey Maguire voices an older Tim who narrates his childhood in an over exaggerated way. Tim often speaks to a Gandalf-like alarm clock and has many fantasies. The computer animation is simple with stylized imagination sequences. Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow voice his parents who always sing “Blackbird” by Paul McCartney.
It’s only when Boss Baby is discovered that things get really bizarre. Turns out all babies are made at Baby Corp where they’re either assigned to a family or management. They stay young by drinking special baby formula, a pacifier can astral project people to his office, and Tim actually questions whether Boss Baby is the baby Jesus. He conducts meetings with his fellow babies Jimbo, Staci, and the Triplets to solve a love crisis. His mission is to prevent Puppy Co. from taking all the love away from babies. You can’t make this stuff up, but I do wish it were more clever. There’s still several poop jokes and more baby butts than I’d expect to see in a kids movie. Steve Buscemi voices the villainous Puppy Co. CEO out for revenge. He sends his burly goon after the brothers as they go on an adventure to save babykind and maybe bound along the way. The Boss Baby delivers what it promises.
Followed by: The Boss Baby: Family Business