The latest feature from the perpetual second banana in the computer animation industry arrives in a bundle of Alec Baldwin-voiced joy with Tom McGrath’s (Megamind, Madagascar films) The Boss Baby, adapted from Marla Frazee’s children’s book of the same name.
The Boss Baby follows last September’s Storks in creating elaborate lies to young children about where newborns come from. Babies all come from Babycorp, a company ran entirely by babies. When infants are sent down the conveyor belt that outfits them for their baby-lives, they face a tickle test which involves a robotic arm tickling each baby’s belly with a feather. If the baby laughs it is sent to live with a loving family, if the baby is stoic it is sent to the ground floor management level of Babycorp where it begins its life of white collar work.
Of course, the babies at Babycorp always stay babies because of a sort of super milk that prevents them from aging past infancy, yet these babies conduct business as adults and do not partake in usual baby follies.
Enter Boss Baby (yes, that’s his name), a no-nonsense baby who arrives via taxi into the life of seven-year-old Tim (Miles Bakshi), previously an only child who was coddled by his doting parents (voiced by Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow) to an embarrassing extent. Boss Baby enters as Tim’s new little brother, and proceeds to take all of his new mom and dad’s love and attention while running the house like his own business. Tim suspects that the baby is up to no good, and, when he catches Boss Baby on a business call, his suspicions are confirmed.
Naturally, Tim has a hard time proving Boss Baby’s schemes and his jealousy of the baby does not help his case. However, Boss Baby and Tim eventually come to an understanding that would allow Boss Baby to return to his job at Babycorp and Tim to return to his lot as an only child. You see, Babycorp’s biggest rival, Puppyco, has been taking the love and affections of people away from babies for years, and Puppyco (which is NOT ran by puppies, but rather a villainous fellow named Francis Francis voiced by Steve Buscemi) is about to release a puppy so cute it might take down Babycorp once and for all.
This might all sound totally made up, but it’s not and the movie gets even more bizarre from there. The film has a legitimate claim to trippiest movie this side of Doctor Strange, and seems to alternate novel and interesting concepts with incredibly stupid ones peppered with poop jokes.
What makes the movie work is the enthusiastic voice performance from Alec Baldwin as the titular tot. Baldwin does a riff on his Glengarry Glen Ross performance and extends it to feature length, hearing Baldwin’s unmistakable adult male voice coming out of a baby is more consistently amusing than it should be, and the movie gives him plenty of lines that are aimed at adult audiences.
In fact, if it weren’t for the film’s at times aggressive levels of stupidity and bathroom humor, the film would really seem to be made exclusively for adults. Outside of some sharply animated fantasy sequences of Tim going on imaginative adventures, most of the film’s content is more likely to connect with mature audiences than the kids. Perhaps this is to be expected for a film that started out as an absurd marketing ploy that happens to have Alec Baldwin attached to it.
Regardless, The Boss Baby is a wonderfully animated film, the movie’s colorful animation has a retro cartoon feel to it, and the movies’ visuals and action sequences will keep the little ones entertained throughout. The movie’s out-of-left-field premise and story are refreshing juxtaposed to the usual talking animal fare, and the constant laughs makes Boss Baby worth checking out.