Animated Movies, DreamWorks, Reviews

[REVIEW] ‘The Boss Baby’

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*SPOILER ALERT: Mild spoilers ahead!*

There are some movies I would love to be a fly on the wall during the pitch sessions. I can see it now, in the Dreamworks boardroom: “Let’s make a movie about a baby who is a boss and wears a suit while talking like Jack Donaghy. Kids will love it!” I mean, they are going to spend tens of millions of dollars and years of effort on a film, and they decide on a talking baby movie? What madness!

But, all that aside, how is Dreamworks’ latest film The Boss Baby? Well, it is better than the trailers make it out to be. I will give it that. The biggest positive is the animation, which Dreamworks always does a good job with. Here, little Tim has an active imagination and these 2D-ish scenes where he imagines being a pirate or an explorer are beautifully rendered and sweet.

There are also some nice moments between the two brothers, Tim and Boss Baby. Kids that are experiencing the challenges of a new sibling will probably relate to what they are going through and so that is good. Parents will also get a few chuckles at the sheer exhaustion of parenting small children. I also enjoyed the music by Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro.

Aside from those positives, I have some major issues with The Boss Baby. The first is the inherent sadness in the world building. Unlike Storks, where one baby accidentally is left behind, in The Boss Baby, rows and rows of babies are sent to what they call “management”.  This means they never leave their baby forms and spend their whole lives at a cubicle working for Baby Corp. This sounds like my nightmare. Corporate work-life is horrible enough without it being anyone’s entire life. They never get any love or warmth or life outside of this corporation. It’s my definition of purgatory.

The other weird part is this idea that puppies are taking away the love of babies and are a threat. This is indeed what children worry about when they get a new sibling – that there won’t be enough love to go around. However, we try to teach them that these fears are not valid. There is no finite supply of love in the world and, even if some loves goes to puppies, there will still be enough for babies. Love has no limits or restrictions. It expands as those we need to love expand. That’s why someone that has three kids can still love four kids. Love just works that way. I found it incredibly odd that the movie never really acknowledges or attempts to teach this lesson.

But all of this would be fine if The Boss Baby was funny, but it’s really not. There are a couple good jokes but the appeal of a baby talking like Jack Donaghy wears thin quickly. After that, it is mostly toilet humor and shenanigans between the two brothers’ fighting. In many ways it is similar to the recent Secret Life of Pets with a new intruder ruining the perfect life of our lead character thereby creating conflict.

I can see The Boss Baby working as an animated short, similar to the opening of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but there just isn’t enough meat on the bones for a feature film. It’s not awful and will no doubt entertain small children but it’s definitely one of the worst films Dreamworks has ever released.

✮✮

Edited by: Kajsa Rain Forden

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About Rachel Wagner

Rachel has loved animation since she was a little girl singing songs from The Little Mermaid at the top of her lungs. She currently works in social media marketing and loves to blog and vlog about Disney, Pixar and all kinds of movies in her free time. Her favorite movie is Up and she considers herself quite the Cinderella aficionado seeing every version she can get her hands on. She also loves animated TV shows like Simpsons, Gravity Falls, Star Wars Rebels and more. Follow her on twitter @smilingldsgirl
  • The last three paragraphs sum up about what I expected. I’m giving this one a pass.

    • Same here. I’d hoped that Smurfs would be good, but early reviews say otherwise.

      • Rachel Wagner

        I actually liked Smurfs: Lost Village. Just for the animation alone which is so beautiful.

        • Manuel Orozco

          Great to hear Rachel. I might go see it next weekend and yesterday I went to see Power Rangers. Was Smurfs that good?

          • Rachel Wagner

            Yeah not perfect but it is beautiful and I gave it a B

          • Manuel Orozco

            I’ll try and keep that in mind because I gave the previous Smurf movies a B too. Also if you want to know about Power Rangers, I loved it.

          • Rachel Wagner

            I enjoyed Power Rangers also! I wasn’t expecting to like it so much

          • Manuel Orozco

            Trust me, it worked a little better than I thought it would before. Being a 90’s baby myself, I really didn’t get into Mighty Morphin until three years ago on Netflix. I’m only telling you this because I thought it would be an enjoyable substitute for Boss Baby.

          • Rachel Wagner

            Agreed and that product placement was a little over the top

          • Manuel Orozco

            It had me craving for a Krispy Kreme LOL.

        • Dave 52

          Speaking of Smurfs, I am honestly a little bit angered at the score RT gave The Lost Village. Granted I haven’t seen it yet but I think score along with the consensus is a bit unfair.

          • Rachel Wagner

            I completely agree. The consensus says the animation is bland and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure the story isn’t perfect but the animation is gorgeous

          • Dave 52

            Exactly! Not only is the film a massive improvement over the last two monstrosities but it actually tries to be a modern yet true to the source material adaption of the comics and cartoons all the way down to the animation. Calling that one particular aspect of the movie of all things “bland” is kind of an insult to the animators who obviously poured their hearts out for this movie.

          • Rachel Wagner
          • Dave 52

            I honestly don’t know. It just baffles me.

          • The animation in Smurfs looks way better than Boss Baby. As far
            as critics go, most complained that only young kids would enjoy it.

          • Rachel Wagner

            It definitely has some problems with the story but I still gave it a B

          • Manuel Orozco

            Let’s hope any problems it had and how predictable it is won’t ruin my overall enjoyment of the show.

          • Rachel Wagner

            I dont think so. I bet all animation addicts will like it more than average moviegoer because of our love of animation

          • Manuel Orozco

            I’m not a big animation addict but I will keep in mind. I’ll let you know if I enjoy it. Will you post your review here Rachel?

          • Rachel Wagner

            We’ll see. I am traveling this week so I was hoping someone else woudl do it but if I can I will

          • Manuel Orozco

            I was just curious to know

          • Rachel Wagner

            And I consider anyone who comments on rotoscopers an animation addict 😉

          • Manuel Orozco

            If that’s the way you put it, that’s fine

          • Manuel Orozco

            I’ll give it an A to be honest Rachel

          • Manuel Orozco

            It felt totally unfair for Power Rangers too. I don’t care what critics say about Smurfs. I’m seeing it no matter how childish it is. I’m a kid at heart and it’s one occasion where I’m willing to act like it.

      • Manuel Orozco

        True but I do hope to enjoy it equally or even more than the live action/CGI versions of Smurfs.

        • Well yeah, this will certainly be better than the live-action Smurfs.

          • Manuel Orozco

            I hope so

          • Manuel Orozco

            Hey Carsfan I just got back from seeing Smurfs Lost Village

          • Duke

            Hey Manuel, check out Exodus channel. Made up of former / film commenters after the “Slashapocylpse”. We’d love to discuss movies with you again.

          • Manuel Orozco

            No thanks

          • Manuel Orozco

            I loved it. It was vibrantly animated with a refreshing visual style, heartwarming and hilarious. Best Smurf movie yet

  • And here I am just sitting here waiting for The Breadwinner to come out.

    • Rachel Wagner

      I am so excited for The Breadwinner. Good to hear others are looking forward to the indies!

      • Animated films from independent companies have been my main go to now and days. :o)

        • Rachel Wagner

          Me too

  • Can’t believe my older sister wants to see it, I kinda do too but only for Alec Baldwin (loving him on SNL these days haha!) but a real shame it’s kinda what we’d expect. Great review though pointing its faults, especially what they do with the babies, that makes me sad just reading about that!!

  • Jordan Briskin

    Somehow, I foresee that this will not be treated kindly by the critics…

    • The RT score is around 48%. So it’s nowhere near the worst, but not good either.

  • Based on the review scores, this is one of Dreamworks lesser films. It’s higher rated than
    Shark Tale and Shrek 3. However, it’s around the level of Road to El Dorado, Bee Movie,
    Sinbad, and Home. So essentially, Boss Baby’s watchable. But it’s not funny or intriguing.

    • Roy K.

      I actually found all those movies to be good. (Well not shark tale or shrek 3 ) This just strikes me as immature and generic.

      • Manuel Orozco

        I found them to be a mix of good and great except Bee movie

    • Rachel Wagner

      Man Dreamwork’s really has had a lot of clunkers. My least favorites are Shark Tale and Home

      • Least favorites are Shrek 3 and Shark Tale. I thought Home was ok, cute.

  • Manuel Orozco

    I saw the trailer before Lego Batman. It looks cute but not cute enough. The only reason I would watch it is for Lisa Kudrow formally known as Phoebe Buffay. A little Smelly Cat anyone?

  • Dave 52

    I’m going to be honest……I thought it was kind of okay. Not the best but okay. I liked it more than I thought I would.

    • Rachel Wagner

      I personally would rather watch Pets because at least babies aren’t relegated to cubicle their whole life. That was so depressing to me. Neither is all that strong so I see what you mean.

      What do you think are the worst of Dreamworks? My worst are Shark Tale and Home.

      • Dave 52

        For me, the worst films from DreamWorks are Shark Tale, Home, and Shrek The Third.

        • Rachel Wagner

          Those are very bad.

          • Dave 52

            No kidding.

    • Manuel Orozco

      Hey I’m back from seeing Smurfs Lost Village and I loved it

  • Sebastian

    Thought it was ok. I loved all scenes with 7 year old Tim letting his imagination go wild. The chase scene was pretty entertaining and yet that too involved the imagination in it. However I did not find the babies to be cute at all and just obnoxious and annoying. I guess I can say I only liked the third act and all of Tim’s imagination sequences.

    • Rachel Wagner

      Yeah the imagination sequences were fun. I guess the whole babies never being loved and working in a cubicle their whole life only bothered me

  • I went to see this last night with the family. Going into this I wasn’t expecting much, but I figured if it could deliver a few laughs, it would be worth checking out at least once. Well, it definitely delivered a few laughs and then some! The opening sequence alone was worth the price of admission. Watching these little babies going down a puffy “cloud-like” conveyor belt and all the funny things that happen to them along the way was “laugh out loud” funny. There were many other parts that had me laughing out loud and one scene inparticular, involving baby powder, caused me to absolutely lose it!

    Some of my favorite sequences were the ones involving Tim’s imagination. The visual style used to tell these imaginary sequences were so interesting and so well done, that I’d almost like to see a whole movie done in this style. These scenes were so creative that they added an additional element to this movie that made it worth watching.

    Now of course this isn’t one of Dreamworks’ best movies. However, I think it delivers just enough to make this one worthwhile. Anything that makes me laugh out loud has my full support and it just makes for a very fun time at the movies. My wife and I laughed out loud several times and my 9 year old nephew thoroughly enjoyed himself the entire time. In fact, when the movie was over, his comment was, “That was very nice.” LOL. I think he was moreso referring to the development of the relationship between the brothers and how that fed into the ending of the film, but I also think it summed up the movie as a whole. It WAS nice. It had a nice story, some interesting sequences that were visually creative, and lots of comedic parts that will have you giggling even after you leave the theater.

    For those of you on the fence about checking this movie out, my advice is to go see it. Don’t go in expecting Oscar-worthy content, but go in expecting to have a good time. If you liked classic Saturday morning cartoons, then I think you’ll enjoy this type of movie.

    • Rachel Wagner

      Thanks for sharing your review!