Out this Friday is The Boss Baby from 20th Century Fox. Starring Alec Baldwin, Tobey Maguire, Steve Buscemi and introducing newcomer Miles Bakshi The Boss Baby is about a man recollecting his introduction to his little brother and how it changed his life.
Right off the bat, The Boss Baby lets you know that this is a story from a child’s point of view, full of colourful imagery and energy the story takes full advantage of the point of view of Timothy Lesley Templeton (Bakshi) a boy with an incredible imagination. This sets the stage for the moment when a cadre of talking babies shows up led by the Boss Baby (Baldwin) because you know that all this ridiculousness is likely an exaggeration of the actual events surrounding the baby his parents brought home all those years ago. At the beginning the story seemed simple, new brother shows up and takes away all affection from the older child, the fun twist is that the baby is voiced by Alec Baldwin but the film is far from that simple, but I won’t spoil the surprise.
When I first saw the trailer, I thought this film screamed Nine Lives, a “film” about a man who gets trapped in a cat’s body and the man was played by Kevin Spacey. The premise stunk, the trailer stunk, and when the film came out, it flopped hard. It felt gimmicky, and I thought The Boss Baby was in the same vein, but after seeing it, I can happily say it is not.
What works for The Boss Baby is the heart of the story, everyone loves being loved, being appreciated and the central element of The Boss Baby is love, the potential loss of love and the power of love. At first, the film follows Tim’s story of him feeling he has lost the love of his parents, it then shifts to the Boss Baby and the people he works for possibly losing all their love to puppies who are their only competition in cuteness. It’s surprisingly impactful and is a lot of fun. The comedy compliments the story quite well with Baldwin delivering that signature style he brought to a lot of his modern characters, especially Jack Donoghue from 30 Rock. Now the jokes don’t always hit but when they do they’re great. As well as the comedy, the animation is top notch; there are scenes where Tim’s imagination completely takes over and the stylistic choices made are fantastic, a particular favourite of mine is a scene where Tim becomes a ninja to spy on the Boss Baby and his cohorts.
There are problems with The Boss Baby, however, the comedy is great, but there is a lot of wasted talent, Lisa Kudrow plays Tim’s mom but is given nothing to work with, Patton Oswalt is supposedly in this film, but I couldn’t tell you where he was. I worry that he was one of the unspeaking roles and surprisingly there is more than one. Steve Buscemi plays the villain, but he’s barely in the film, so his presence is not used to its fullest extent. The biggest problem with The Boss Baby is that it doesn’t know how to end and not only that it feels longer than its running time of 97 minutes.
Overall The Boss Baby was a surprisingly heartwarming, fun look at love and what it means to people filled with ridiculous characters and fantastic animation delivered to us by DreamWorks Animation. Bring the kids and enjoy this flawed but fun film.