Hot Take: A silly cartoon in an age where animated films are usually far from silly. It’s dumb one joke premise wears thin but it also has the occasional moment in the sun.
We’re in a different age of cartoons. There was a time when almost every animated film felt like The Boss Baby. While it might not be as madcap as the Looney Tunes series but it definitely has a Tiny Toon Adventures feel about it.
The Boss Baby boasts one of the silliest premises in recent memory. The central story revolves around a baby (Alec Baldwin) who is sent undercover from a company known as Baby Corp to infiltrate a family and find out what Puppy Co. has developed as its show stopping next pet. The undercover baby — The Boss Baby — joins a family who already has a son named Tim (Miles Christopher Baskhi) and instantly makes Tim feel like an outsider because he now has to fight the new baby for his parent’s (Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow) love. Threatened by the baby’s presence, Tim becomes jealous until he finds out the Boss Baby isn’t really a baby (because no one realized that when he showed up in a cab wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase) which he uncovers when he overhears the Boss Baby talking on the phone. Desperate to get the love of his parents back, Tim sets out to gain proof that the Boss Baby isn’t an ordinary baby. Eventually, his efforts fall short but the two come to an agreement to work together for the greater good as the Boss Baby needs Tim’s help to stop Puppy Co. because if Puppy Co. is successful, no one will love babies anymore. See, I told you it was silly.
In this day and age, we don’t get a lot of animated works like The Boss Baby. The animated world is driven by films that aspire to be emotionally moving to the level of Pixar films or cater to either the kids audience that sees the animated trailer and bugs their parents to see it or the parents that make up the rest of the audience who get stuck taking their kid to see the movie. The Boss Baby is a kids movie. It never hides behind a more grown up façade. However, the wonderful voice work by Alec Baldwin, references to his previous work and the running jokes about big business and middle management give it enough adult flavoring to keep the parents entertained. All of this is helped out by a frenetic pass and imaginative alternate reality scenes spawned by Tim’s imagination that are mostly there for fun but remind you that kids have an active imagination.
Admittedly, I kept thinking The Boss Baby was pretty dumb while I was watching it. However, it was at a level of harmless that I ended up considering it more silly than dumb. I laughed a few times more than I expected to and the movie is so breezy and paced adequately enough that even if you completely hate it, it’s over before you know it. I didn’t completely hate it. I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it but I didn’t hate it. The Boss Baby is okay.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- The Perfect Storm for Alec Baldwin
Remember when Alec Baldwin was leaving voicemails to his 11-year-old daughter calling her a rude, thoughtless, little pig? Somehow Baldwin survived that mess and the occurrence which happened a decade ago is now a mere footnote. It’s only mentioned because it feels like Baldwin has weathered public backlash pretty well and even become beloved over the last year largely in part for his mockery of a rotten tangerine masquerading as our President. Baldwin carries The Boss Baby and its unlikely the movie works for the entire audience without his voiceover work.
- An Animation Adrenaline Shot
The pacing of the movie and its uncomplicated plot is quick and painless for the viewer. Unless you totally hate animation or absolutely need mature themes, The Boss Baby should at least provide a few moments that bring a smile to your face.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Instantly Forgettable
While there a number of jokes that leave an impression, it’s really hard to remember The Boss Baby once you walk out of the theater. You’ll remember being entertained but you might not remember why.
- Even Though He’s the Best Part of the Movie, They Might Play the Alec Baldwin Card Too Often
Getting a quick laugh by referencing Baldwin’s career is a play that The Boss Baby runs often. Unfortunately, this is the rare time this movie forgets it’s a kids movie and might lose younger audiences especially when mommy and daddy stop laughing because the joke gets a little tired.