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ADVANCE: The Boss Baby - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
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cinema_holic
ADVANCE: The Boss Baby
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Directing: C+
Acting: B
Writing: C-
Cinematography: B-
Editing: C+
Animation: B


I'm trying to be fair. In that spirit, I'm generously acknowledging the competent animation achievements of this film, and its relatively entertaining voice talent, particularly that of Alec Baldwin as the title character, whose very existence is bewildering.

Of course, I refer only to my own bewilderment, as a 40-year-old adult who had very little patience for this overly frenetic film with a genuinely baffling premise. None of these things are relevant to small children, which The Boss Baby was clearly made for. Anyone over the age of, say, eight, should steer clear. Except, of course, that children under the age of eight have to be accompanied by parents, who might feel taken hostage.

Okay, okay. It's . . . "cute." Bleh. Barf!

I'll give it this much credit: The Boss Baby might prove useful to any small child feeling jealous about the arrival of a baby sibling. They could easily be inspired by the way the main characters resolve their differences, and work together for the sake of their parents. Yay, teamwork!

What this film fails at spectacularly is offering anything on the level of adults to appreciate. Pixar, this is not. The Boss Baby is filled with gags, nearly all of them at the basest levels of humor. There's a strange lot of scatological humor -- from kids exiting what appears to be the anal opening of a bouncy-house dog, to the presence of a literal baby fart. There's also a shot of "Boss Baby" getting milk-bottle squirted on by several coworkers celebrating a promotion, and I can only hope I can one day have that image wiped from my memory.

Here is a group of people mistaking bad humor for cleverness. The one time The Boss Baby is actually clever is when we see older-brother Tim's wild imagination depicting an action sequence in the backyard, which is shown, very briefly, to be very innocuous playing when seen from the parents' point of view. This idea, though, of movie-depiction of a kid's wild imagination, is hardly new. In fact, after two decades of Toy Story and LEGO movies, it's rather played out. Here we have a movie riding on the coattails of other movies, and dressing it up in a literal business suit.

I'm not even sure how to explain the bizarre premise, except that it could be argued it even insults the intelligence of toddlers. It's the one truly new thing this movie has to offer: something incomprehensible. The baby, who did not laugh properly when tickled, was put in "management". Is there supposed to be a metaphor here? (When I told my husband this was an animated feature called The Boss Baby featuring Alec Baldwin, he replied, "Based on Trump?") It does not appear so, and as such perhaps it was a missed opportunity. There's no message offered here regarding over-pampered CEOs. They're all just . . . babies. The work at BabyCorp. They send babies on missions to get to the bottom of puppies getting too high a market share of parents' love, as if that's a thing. This movie can't even get its own premise straight.

The Boss Baby is based on a 2010 picture book of the same name, which I have never read. Maybe that's why I just don't get it. Was the book any better than this? I would assume so, actually. No picture book is going to fall prey to the movie clichés of frenetic hyper-editing meant to stand in for story or even coherent action.

I may be in the minority here. Tim will tell. I saw an unusually early advanced screening of this film, which does not open until March 31, so no official reviews have yet been published. I don't expect it to get raves, but maybe others will have more patience for it than I did. My husband did, actually. He quite enjoyed it.

I enjoyed parts of it. I got a chuckle here and there. But there's no escaping the fact that The Boss Baby is patently forgettable, with a story so loosely constructed that it has no reliable foundation for sticking in the memory.

But, to be fair, I am not a young child. I can only imagine the reviews of young children, once those ones start coming in. "A delightful romp!" they'll write, with their crayons. Surely plenty of kids will eventually play this on their personal devices over and over, ad nauseum, until their parents begin to gouge their own eyes out with safety pins.

Alec Baldwin and Miles Christopher Bakshi dupe young children into thinking THE BOSS BABY is a good movie.


Overall: C+
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