When I first saw the trailers of this new Dreamworks animated film, and saw this arrogant baby wearing a suit, I did not think it was something I would like. The initial reviews of that came out were not too good as well.
However, upon learning of the great box-office "Boss Baby" did in the US -- ousting "Beauty and the Beast" from the No. 1 spot on its first week, and hanging on to No. 1 for a second week -- I thought I'd like to see what this film had in store.
Seven-year old Tim has a fun life as an only child of his parents Ted and Janice Templeton. However, on the arrival of his new bossy baby brother, Tim's ideal life turns upside down. Calling himself the Boss Baby, the new arrival wears a suit, talks like an adult and conducts meetings with other babies in the neighborhood. He connives with Tim to help him achieve a mission which will give him a promotion in Baby Corp. where he came from, and he will be gone from Tim's life for good. Tim is only too willing to help.
The artwork by the Dreamworks artists was really cuteness overload. The adorable combination of babies and puppies was hard to resist, and the drawings capitalized on this. Every funny baby and puppy tic and behavior were played up to great comic effect. Those scenes showing Tim and Boss Baby sucking pacifiers together, wearing sailor outfits together, reading a story book together, among others, were really quite precious and heartwarming to see.
Alec Baldwin, of course, had a very authoritative tone as the Boss Baby as could be expected. You can hear a lot of the irony of his character in his voice. I was impressed with the lively vocal work of Miles Christopher Bakshi (grandson of animation legend Ralph Bakshi) as Tim Templeton, matching Baldwin's energy for the whole film.
I thought Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow had too little to say as Tim's parents to make a distinct vocal impression. Steve Buscemi was appropriately menacing as Francis E. Francis, the vindictive CEO of Puppy Co., the main target of Boss Baby's mission. We get to hear the voice of Tobey Maguire as the adult Timothy, the narrator of the film.
I thought the first scenes of Tim vs. Boss Baby can be very disturbing for young kids, showing sibling rivalry to the extreme. I felt it was sending a negative message for children watching that it was cool to be bossy or rude or bullying others. It took time for me to warm up to this concept, which I feel a lot of the young viewers do not get or might take the wrong way. Parental guidance is a must for these scenes.
Later though, I confess that I did get caught up in all the cute foolishness of it all. Despite the plot holes (like the erratic process of the magic baby formula wearing off) and juvenile violence (there were several scenes showing babies in mortal danger), brotherly love still prevailed in the end, and that was one very important message that families and the world need to take to heart. 6/10
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."