A new baby’s arrival has unexpected repercussions on an American family, told from the perspective of an incredibly unreliable narrator (Tobey Maguire). This Boss Baby (Alec Baldwin) arrives at Tim’s household in a yellow taxi, wearing a suit and holding a briefcase. The common sibling rivalry between younger and elder brothers must be put to bed when Tim (Miles Bakshi) finds out Boss Baby is a spy on a secret mission, and can stop an adorable conspiracy that involves an epic battle between babies and their worst enemy, puppies. Through the eys of young Tim, audiences are left teething on a good old children’s movie, toilet humour and all.
“Look at him. He wears a suit” says Tim, and Mom (Lisa Kudrow) happily replies“he’s a little man.” Encounters like this make this film so relatable to anyone with siblings, or parents with young children. And for people like me where the gap is twelve years. That said, he holds meetings with his wisps of blonde hair, talks like he owns the place, has tantrums and brings on the waterworks when he doesn’t get his own way. And no, I am not talking about Mr Trump’s Twitter account, regardless of the like for like character traits. Alec Baldwin (Blue Jasmine) recently played Trump on Saturday Night Live too and it’s freakin’ great!
I’m twenty-one years old but I never really grew up. I’m still with Peter and the Lost Boys. Surrounded by kids, and responsible parents in a packed 10am screening, I laughed my ass off. Dreamworks have made some cracking kids movies of late, including Megamind, The Croods and the Kung Fu Panda Trilogy (2008 – 2016). I love their films for the most part, sorry Shrek. The animation for The Boss Baby is well-done. There are times in the story that make no logical sense, such as when Mom (Kudrow) is pregnant and then Boss Baby arriving in cab, with our parents being none the wiser. Well, it’s a kids movie and storyline is not the first thing on their agenda with all the pretty colours on the screen.
Yet this film still talks about some deeper themes. Tim feels neglected by Mom and Dad (Jimmy Kimmel) with the coming of Boss Baby. No more bedtime stories. No more songs. No more hugs and kisses, as they often pass out from exhaustion due to running around after their baby. Loneliness and solitude are well-depicted, and Boss Baby takes full advantage of Tim’s vulnerability. It’s themes like this that enforce my love for children’s movies. Sure it’s a fun-loving animated film but it also subtly highlights darker concepts that adults or older siblings can relate to as well. And often, I find myself taking more away from a children’s story than a story written for my own age. Curious indeed.
This film is very creative and a good bit of fun. Screenwriter Michael McCullers (The Spy Who Shagged Me/Goldmember) has written a good script, even if it is loose with logic some of the time. Director Tom McGrath (Madagascar) has made sure the screen is filled with a diverse colour pallet and imaginative scenes to propel childhood adventure to a good conclusion. Our characters are acting in ways and doing things that audience members may identify with. For example Tim becoming angsty with the new baby and creating narratives for his toys, including a talking a Gandalf counselling him like he did Bilbo on the quest to The Lonely Mountain.
The voice cast give solid performances and the animation is of a high standard. Lisa Kudrow (The Girl On The Train) and Jimmy Kimmel (Jimmy Kimmel Live!) deliver as the docile parents, blissfully unaware of their baby’s antics, thus labelling the older sibling as the troublemaker. Some things will never change. Alec Baldwin as Boss Baby is excellent. Nobody else could have done this role to his standard. Baldwin is a great talent, making me love to hate his character and feel sorry for him all at the same time. Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) plays Francis Francis,Though, I think his performance was forgettable and could have been played by anyone.
The animation takes me back to my childhood, oft reminding me of Toy Story and Small Soldiers (1998). This is a kid-friendly film with some mildly offensive language (matter of opinion), toilet jokes and shots of talcum-powdered baby bottoms. With good performances and nice animation, The Boss Baby is now in cinemas.