The Boss Baby Review: An Animated 90s Throwback With A Big Heart and Lots of Laughs.
I was at the Dreamworks San Diego Comic-Con Panel last year when I first heard about The Boss Baby. I remember watching the footage and thinking to myself there is no way this is a real movie. Now, eight months later, The Boss Baby is about to hit theaters, and it is, in fact, a real thing. Without spoiling anything, the film explains where babies come from and that there are two types of babies born. The first kind of baby is one that is destined to be part of a family. The other kind of baby is intended to work in management at Baby Corp.
Alec Baldwin voices the Boss Baby and as you probably guessed, was assigned to management rather than a family. The Boss Baby is sent from Baby Corp to become the little brother of Tim (Miles Christopher Bakshi), an only child who loves all the attention his parents, voiced by Lisa Kudrow and Jimmy Kimmel, give him. When the Boss Baby arrives, Tim immediately begins to question the baby’s reasoning for suddenly wanting to become part of his already perfect family. As one might have suspect, the Boss Baby isn’t there to find a family but rather is working as an undercover spy to stop Puppy Co from revealing a new puppy that will make puppies more desirable than babies.
I went into The Boss Baby hoping to have fun and sure enough, I was entertained and amused throughout watching the film. While I wouldn’t say that the Boss Baby is a game-changer regarding animated family films, I was surprisingly impressed with a lot of the story elements. The idea behind the Boss Baby is incredibly odd. As I said when I opened this review, it honestly sounds like a joke, but in reality, the film is based on a book that was turned into an animated film. I give Dreamworks credit for taking a chance on an idea where most of the jokes in the film rely on Alec Baldwin’s voice selling the audience as this corporate driven baby. It’s not exactly the easiest sell, but I admire taking the risk to make an animated film that attempts to do something different.
In addition to its odd yet creative plot, I admire that Tom McGrath‘s film features multiple types of animation. It has become the standard for most animation films to feature 3D Animation. I appreciated that there are some scenes of hand-drawn animation in the film as well as some unique computer animation. A lot of the scenes in the film felt like a throwback to classic animation including the original Disney and Looney Toons cartoons. I think we have become so spoiled by 3D animation and that it was sort of refreshing to see some of these lost forms of animation to appear in the Boss Baby.
While a lot of family films strive to make children use their imaginations, I admire that a lot of the Boss Baby story was built around Tim having a wild imagination. The film’s story celebrates imagination and uses it throughout to add some depth to what can easily be viewed as a rather silly story. It should also be mentioned that the story does somewhat explore how a child feels when another child enters into his or her life. While the story is mostly silly and entertaining, there are some genuine moments where Tim is rather upset by the lack of time his parents are giving him because that time is now being spent on the new baby.
Sure, the Boss Baby is predictable and isn’t very complex which one could easily argue that Michael McCullers script tries to make the plot much more complicated than it needs to be. I do believe, however, that McCullers and McGrath bring up and address important themes that are relatable to a lot of children while taking a chance with some of the jokes as well as the central joke appealing to children when I believe it’s funnier to adults than children.
I think where the film shines the brightest is the relationship that forms between Tim and the Boss Baby. The script takes it’s time to build their relationship, even though as a viewer, you know they need to bond because they have to work together. I just felt that the film had its predictable moments, but I was surprised by how much heart the film had especially during the last 15-20 minutes. There aren’t many characters in the film, so a lot of the film is spent building the relationship between the Boss Baby and Tim. I think it works nicely and ends on a note where you can’t help but leave the theater with a big smile on your face.
All in all, The Boss Baby is a lot better than it has any right to be. McGrath’s film is an animated 90s throwback with a big heart and lots of laughs. Alec Baldwin’s voice is spot-on, and there is plenty of adult humor mixed in between cute puppies and babies fighting with one another. The Boss Baby is a fun and refreshing animated film that feels like an homage to classic early morning cartoons. It may not be the best-animated film of the year but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable family entertainment from start to finish.
Scott “Movie Man” Menzel’s rating for The Boss Baby is a 7 out of 10.