*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