July 2nd, 2021
MOVIE: THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS
STARRING: ALEC BALDWIN, JAMES MARSDEN, AMY SEDARIS, ARIANA GREENBLATT
DIRECTED BY: TOM MCGRATH
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 2 STARS (Out of 4)
The Boss Baby: Family Business has to be the strangest animated movie ever made. Once the kid is no longer a baby, it seems pointless to keep going, but as animated movies go, there’s money to be made off of parents in need of keeping their kids entertained. I personally didn’t find the first Boss Baby to be good, but I could see the humor in Alec Baldwin unearthing his Glengary Glen Ross character, and inserting it into the consciousness of a suit wearing baby. “Put that cookie down!” was an easy replacement line to get a chuckle, but as most misguided animated films can be, The Boss Baby: Family Business is a movie for kids that they won’t even relate with. The premise is that the Templeton brothers have grown up and grown apart, now they must become babies once more, to stop an evil business baby from taking control of parents all over the world. It’s a strange plot and it makes for one messy movie…baby.
Tim Templeton (James Marsden) has grown up, has two kids of his own- Tabitha (Ariana Greenblat) and Tina (Amy Sedaris), and he loves to keep his child-like wonder. The family loves to pretend, storming couch castles, and running from baking soda erupting volcanoes, but as Tabitha gets older, she’s interested in other things. She takes an interest in her schoolwork and working in big business, just like her uncle Ted (Alec Baldwin), who sends lavish gifts for birthdays and holidays, but rarely shows up when needed. Now baby Tina has a plan to get the brothers back together, while using them to stop the evil Dr. Armstrong (Jeff Goldblum) from using Baby Corp. for his own world domination.
Describing the plot is as convoluted as it sounds and this Boss Baby seems unable to leave the star power of Alec Baldwin behind, while still trying to establish a new Boss Baby universe. When Tina decides to turn her father and uncle back into animated infants, she has them drink a mystery potion, where their bodies mutate and shift, which is incredibly off putting, borderline creepy. The screenplay by Mike McCullers and the direction from Tom McGrath seems to be working off the structure of other fantasy style, out of body movies, such as Big, 13 Going on 30, even Back to the Future, where eventually the new baby version of dad will run into his daughter at school, learning what she needs from him in life. The adventure for baby Ted and Tina is separate from Tim’s journey, where they must put a stop to Dr. Armstrong’s evil plot, making way through Baby Corp., filled with Ninja babies, sabotaging baby computers, and more poopy diaper gags. It’s honestly too much going on, and when you mix in the flashing colors, The Boss Baby: Family Business is too manic to enjoy anything.
The final act of Boss Baby attempts shoe horning in the sentimental stuff, where Ted and Tim realize that they can be better brothers, and the predictable final push to thwart Dr. Armstrong’s evil plan; All of it rings pretty hollow where it lacks texture in the animation and maturity in the characters. The big joke of these Boss Baby movies is that it’s babies acting like grownups, that only goes so far, and the eventual story becomes standard animated movie plots.
After the success of the first Boss Baby, eventually led to a Netflix series, and now we have The Boss Baby: Family Business. It’s not that this would be the worst animated movie of 2021, but it’s an incredibly strange one. There’s even a scene of subliminal advertising, where one character is watching Spirit: Untamed, which is a dose of unnecessary Dreamworks marketing. The parents have already brought their kids to the movies, they might even buy Boss Baby toys at Target, you don’t need to hammer them on the head. But that’s what Family Business does. It crammed non-stop baby hijinx into an hour and thirty minutes of our time. Some say that’s just how animated movies are. I call it bad business.
THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS IS PLAYING IN THEATERS & STREAMING ON PEACOCK (WITH SUBSCRIPTION) FRIDAY JULY 2ND.
Written by: Leo Brady