Baldwin Rescues The Boss Baby from Obscurity
- Ryan Duncan
- 2017 31 Mar
If not for a committed performance from Alec Baldwin, The Boss Baby would probably be languishing in a $1 DVD bin at Walmart. The film isn’t completely devoid of laughs, but they run out long before the credits roll. 2 out of 5.
Seven-year-old Tim Templeton is a spirited child who enjoys a happy life with his mother and father. However, one day his world is thrown upside-down when his parents return home with a baby boy. As their new addition wreaks havoc on the family, Tim becomes convinced this baby is much more than he appears. After careful investigation, Tim discovers that his new brother is actually an employee of BabyCorp, the secret company where all babies are made. Apparently, human beings are wasting too much of their love on puppies, and this "Boss Baby" has been sent down to redirect the flow. With no other choice available, Tim grudgingly agrees to help his new brother with the mission, if only to get him out of the house for good!
The Boss Baby is nothing less than a testament to Baldwin's acting prowess. This film simply would not work if it didn't have his whip-crack voice and deadpan delivery. While Miles Christopher Bakshi brings life to the lovable Tim, there’s no denying who carries the movie. Aside from that, the imagination of The Boss Baby is worth appreciating. There's a subtle echo of Calvin & Hobbes throughout the story, and the film does a good job at capturing the magic and mania of early childhood.
The problem with The Boss Baby is that it’s built entirely on one joke: what would happen if babies wore suits and talked like corporate businessmen? Once you get past that, there's really not much else. The rest of the movie isn’t bad, it’s just empty. The story is ok, the animation is ok, the other voice actors are ok, and on and on it goes. One good laugh isn’t enough to sustain an entire film. Speaking of recycled gags, viewers should prepare for a barrage of butts. Any movie about babies will undoubtedly have a few frames of adorable, newborn rumps, but The Boss Baby goes completely overboard. You’d think the animators never learned how to draw pants. If you enjoyed Baldwin in 30 Rock, and always wanted to see his character Jack Donaghy as an infant, The Boss Baby might entertain you for 30 minutes, but no longer.
Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes
The Boss Baby skirts the line with spiritual themes but never really steps into that territory. There are a handful of jokes where Tim asks if his new brother is "the baby Jesus" and a brief moment where the baby threatens to "take his soul" but that’s all. For the most part, the movie focuses on themes of family and brotherly love. The babies are worried because humans seem to love puppies more than them. Similarly, Tim is upset because he feels his parents don’t have enough love to share between two children. In the end though, the moral is that love is supposed to be spread around, and that the relationship between siblings is something truly special.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)
- MPAA Rating: PG for some mild rude humor
- Language/Profanity: The Lord’s name is taken once, but otherwise just harmless curses like “Poop!” and “Doody!”
- Sexuality/Nudity: As mentioned, a number of baby bottoms are shown; Tim tires to get his naked brother into a sailor suit but the genital areas are blurred; there's talk about where babies come from, but sex is never mentioned; Tim is hit in the groin with a toy; the boys are shown in a bathtub but their privates are covered by soap bubbles; the baby mentions some “weird tickling” at a corporate retreat; the mom is shown to be pregnant; a man comically dresses up as a woman; the boys exit out of an inflatable dog through its rear.
- Violence/Frightening/Intense: A lot of slapstick humor; a brief scene where babies are shown with glowing eyes and move like aliens; a villain threatens to "terminate" his parents.
Drugs/Alcohol: Boss Babies drink a special formula milk that keeps them young and makes them smart; Tim accidentally drinks a Long Island Iced Tea but doesn't get drunk.
The Bottom Line
RECOMMENDED FOR: Families with small children; Alec Baldwin fans; adults looking for a dark, quiet place to take a nap.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Teens or older children; people who enjoy deeper animated movies; dog lovers.
The Boss Baby, directed by Tom McGrath, opened in theaters March 31, 2017; available for home viewing July 25, 2017. It runs 97 minutes and stars Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire and Miles Christopher Bakshi. Watch the trailer for The Boss Baby here.
Ryan Duncan is Entertainment Editor for Crosswalk.com.
Publication date: March 31, 2017