UK Release Date: 7th April 2017
Runtime: 97 minutes
Director: Tom McGrath
Writer: Michael McCullers
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Miles Bakshi, Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy Kimmel, Steve Buscemi, Tobey Maguire
Synopsis: A child finds his idyllic existence ruined when a new baby arrives in his home and suddenly his parents have less time for him. Also, the baby wears a suit… for some reason.
The challenge for a movie like The Boss Baby – DreamWorks’ aggressively marketed and bizarrely-premised new animated comedy – is to convince audiences to stay in their seats beyond its initial joke. That joke? A young boy gets a surprise baby brother. The brother wears a suit, and was sent to the family by an organisation of management babies to learn how to guarantee babies’ continuing appeal against the rise of cute dogs.
With the baby voiced by Alec Baldwin, in full Glengarry Glen Ross mode, there’s little about this that should work past the initial giggle factor of ‘haha, he’s wearing a tie’. Remarkably though, it does. The Boss Baby has much more to offer its audience than its setup, which was heavily leaned on in the trailers and is quickly dispensed with in the movie’s opening 20 minutes as it gets down to other business.
That other business includes a well-thought out and imaginative plot, some great visual set pieces and a payoff that is truly emotional, if a little bit predictable.
It’s easy to sneer at some of the film’s more reductive humour – there’s more than one scene involving bottom-based jokes – but this is all allayed by Baldwin’s joyful performance. The Boss is a delightful comic creation, spitting out instantly memorable lines made all the better by their tiny, baby source.
It may be underappreciated by adult audiences now, but there’s all of the memorable dialogue here to set this up as the next Bee Movie-sized cult hit in years to come. The Boss Baby’s best accomplishment, though, is just being wildly entertaining from start to finish.
DreamWorks has a mixed success rate with its animated movies, but while the gross of The Boss Baby won’t reach the mammoth heights of Disney or Illumination and the critical reception is middling, it has hit upon something creative, fun and which may endure in the years to come.
Pop or Poop?
Animated movies for kids are as good as they have ever been and The Boss Baby certainly doesn’t boast the sophistication of an Inside Out or a Zootropolis. It is, however, a fiercely original movie that has more than enough colour, entertainment and impressive zingers to make it worth watching.
Most importantly, though, in Alec Baldwin’s sharp-suited infant, DreamWorks has created a character who could become a genuine cult icon. Cookies are for closers, as The Boss himself claims, and this film certainly deserves a reward.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.