DreamWorks Animation’s latest installment ‘The Boss Baby’ fails to deliver its punchlines and drive its message home. Alec Baldwin sure has a lot of fun though.
There seems to be a sudden interest in animated babies. They’re cute as hell and animators can’t seem to get enough of making them overwhelmingly adorable. Which is perfectly fine with me because it’s a joy to watch, like Storks, and it’s always fun to sit back and enjoy the ride as you explore the secret world of babies or pets or whatever else the writers can imagine. Yet if your targeted audience is comprised mainly of children, you’re in a constant struggle to find the balance between humor, comprehensibility, fun and an overarching moral lesson. Also, you have to add in a few naughty jokes to keep the adults awake.
The Boss Baby’s premise is weird enough but DreamWorks is no stranger to weird (Shrek, Bee Movie) and, in fact, they thrive on weird. Hyperactive, sugary and at times clever, The Boss Baby never quite surpasses from weird to purposefully weird. Told from the point of view of 7 year old Tim Templeton (voiced by Miles Bakshi), an imaginative, spirited young boy content with being an only child, the arrival of a baby brother throws his life into chaos. His baby brother is the titular boss baby (voiced by Alec Baldwin), a “middle-management” employee of Baby Corp. whose main purpose is to thwart their rival corporation Puppy Co. in their efforts to make puppies cuter than babies. In a story essentially about a family coming together, of new siblings learning to love each other, the movie’s boss baby narrative delivers a tasteless formula. Striving for charm and humor, it falls flat of both. While the animations were refreshing and exciting, the message of the importance of family is lost. In the end, The Boss Baby just doesn’t find the right balance. Mercifully, it only lasts an hour and a half.
The Boss Baby is in theaters March 31st.
Cast: Alec Baldwin, Miles Bakshi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Steve Buscemi, ViviAnn Yee, Eric Bell Jr., Tobey McGuire
Director: Tom McGrath
Writers: Michael McCullers based on the children’s book ‘The Boss Baby’ by Marla Frazee
Running time: 97 minutes.