Animated Movies, DreamWorks, Reviews, Studios

DreamWorks Countdown 34: ‘The Boss Baby’

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I think everyone has one of those ‘never judge a book by its cover’ movies. The kind of film that looks bad from its trailers so your expectations are not very high, but when you actually see it you surprisingly enjoy it. For me, The Boss Baby is one of those movies. I thought it was gonna be awful when I saw the first teaser, but after I saw it I thought it was pretty good. Is it one of DreamWorks’ best? No, but it’s still an enjoyable watch.

The story concerns a boy named Tim, who seems to be living the good life being an only child and getting all his parents love and attention. However, this changes when a baby shows up wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase (which nobody questions), and seems to steal all the attention away from Tim. In another twist, the baby has the voice of Alec Baldwin.The unlikely duo don’t get along at first, but they have to put their differences aside to stop the evil head of a corporation called Puppy Co., whose new puppy could threaten to keep all peoples’ attention towards puppies (thus making them not want to have babies anymore).

I really enjoy the manic energy The Boss Baby has. There are some funny gags littered throughout and some pretty funny slapstick. It is directed by Tom McGrath, one of the co-directors of the Madagascar series, and you can tell as it has the same feel as those movies. I was expecting just nothing but baby jokes, but, while there are certainly those jokes, they’re not the majority.

Some of the lines can be quite hilarious and there are even some ideas that they throw out about this world that are so bizarre I couldn’t help but laugh. For instance, they actually give a reason why the babies can talk.The babies sent to management drink a magic formula that allows them to stay babies forever with the intelligence of adults; However, if they stop drinking it, they become normal non-speaking infants. What’s in this formula? Where do they get it from? Does it have any effect on adults? No answer, it’s just what it is. Because why not? Also, there’s a joke involving multiple Elvis impersonators that probably got the biggest laugh out of me in the entire movie.

Given DreamWorks’ output, obviously it’s put a lot of effort into the animation. It’s very smooth, colorful, fast paced, and there’s even some stylistic changes during Tim’s imagination sequences. He imagines everything from a pirate battle to a space mission and it is very creatively shown. Besides Alec Baldwin, there’s also some notable voice actors in the cast like Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, and Steve Buscemi, and they all do a good job in their parts.

Even the moments that are meant to be heartfelt work better than I thought they would. The two main characters share a nice brotherly bond and I enjoyed seeing their friendship grow. The ending especially was really well done. Without giving anything away, it really brought the message of family home and it’s not done in an overly schmaltzy way. Honestly I think anyone who has siblings can actually connect with this.

With all that said, The Boss Baby is not perfect. While there are plenty of jokes that do land, there are some that don’t quite hit. The villain is also pretty weak. His motivations don’t entirely make sense, and they throw in a twist with him that seemed pretty obvious. Plus, the last shot of the movie is confusing. After making it clear boss baby may just be in Tim’s imagination the final shot is very strange.

But even so, The Boss Baby is still an enjoyable film. It could have easily been nothing but a string of one note gags related to “Look, it’s Stewie Griffin in a suit” but DreamWorks actually put more effort into it than I thought it would. I guess I’m not alone on this as the movie grossed about $498 million worldwide, pretty much guaranteeing a sequel plus a Netflix series. I’m not really sure how DreamWorks would continue this story though, but I’ve been surprised before.

What did you think of The Boss Baby? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Edited by: Hannah Wilkes

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  • Yeah I completely agree with your points, a fun little time waster that I didn’t get annoyed at not much at all, except for the part where the Boss Baby and Tim have that inevitable falling out moment, that part was completely rushed and not even good just a total time waster with no fun in it
    Glad I saw it at least once

  • Sebastian

    I find this one to be a guilty pleasure but nothing else. I first really didn’t like the baby and was happy that the other babies didn’t appear more in the film. But by the time that Boss Baby & Tim got along I actually found it to be somewhat sweet. When they sit in the sofa and actually gets to know one another. My saving grace for this movie though is the Imagination bits. Not in a long time have I seen such a creative, imaginative, vibrant sequence portrayed in a animated film. I could clearly see the inspiration from Lady & The Tramp, Peter Pan, The Jetsons and so many more. I loved all those sequences. Overall I find this movie to be sweet and just feel good. Even the voice work done by the kid isn’t that bad. He has a kid like pronunciation in some parts that are rather cute.

  • Alex Beezley

    For me, this film was … strange. While I did enjoy the animation, the score, and the voice acting, particularly Steve Buscemi’s performance, the plot was pretty messy. Not only was it thoroughly predictable, there were too many plot elements to make a thoroughly coherent story. The humor does work much of the time, but it wasn’t enough to distract from the weak plot. This is not DreamWork’s worst film, but it is not one that I would want to rewatch anytime soon.

  • Jordan Briskin

    In my opinion, the basic premise of this film is just horrendously ridiculous; it feels as though it’s trying to create something along the lines of one of Pixar’s films (the latter studio’s paradigm being all about “What would happen if [insert story idea here]?), but from what I’ve seen of the previews, it doesn’t deliver at all.

    In all, I view this movie as a waste of resources and talent, and fully intend on NEVER watching it.

  • Gavin Cresswell

    I watched this movie on Netflix nearly a month ago during Thanksgiving and to be honest, it kind of disappointed me. The animation’s imaginative, the music score is beautiful, some of the humor was funny, the relationship between the baby and Tim is heartwarming and the voice acting’s top notch particularly Alec Baldwin, Miles Bakshi, the kid who voiced Tim Templeton and Steve Buscemi, but the story was a mess with somewhat decent ideas, but not well executed enough, the villain was generic, the writing was obvious and predictable, and some of the humor is just a bunch of doody jokes.
    What really bothered me the most is the fact that the company that brought us great hits like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, HTTYD, ROTG, TPOE, SSOTC, etc., etc., would create such a juvenile project like this. I didn’t hate this film as anyone else did, but I think this in my top 5 least favorite films DreamWorks has made including Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Shark Tale, Bee Movie, and Home. But the movie made 498 million while Rise of the Guardians, a much better film that also starred Alec Baldwin, underperformed and caused a 84 million write down for the company, only made 306 million and despite strong home video sales didn’t get a franchise due to terrible marketing and stiff competition with two movies (a twilight movie and a James Bond film).
    I really, *really* hate this world right now.

  • I haven’t watched this yet, but I can see from this
    why Boss Baby was nominated for a few awards.