The Boss Baby (PG)

Animation 97 min. March 31, 2017
By Pete Vonder Haar
The Boss Baby might look, at first, like any other major studio animation release. It hits all the expected notes: the enduring importance of family, the persistence of untrustworthy/clueless adults, and the inherent hilarity of shoehorning David Mamet dialogue into a children's movie. You'll find a handful of genuine laughs, most courtesy of Alec Baldwin's shrewd performance, scattered within the usual mix of schmaltz and over-the-top action sequences. But aside from the slightly fresh take on a familiar concept, The Boss Baby is barely a moderate success as a kid's flick. It works much better as an existential horror movie.

Modern existence is already pretty horrifying, and no one knows this better than 7-year-old Tim Templeton (voiced by Miles Bakshi), previously an only child but now faced with a baby brother who is far from your average infant -- he wears a suit, carries a briefcase, and is maniacally focused on convincing the Templetons (Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow) to get rid of their oldest child. Turns out, Boss Baby has been sent to thwart an evil corporation's plan to swap puppies with babies as the focal source of human love. It seems Baby Corp. has many aspiring Babies in their employ all working to defeat Puppy Co., whose CEO (Steve Buscemi) has vowed "no more babies." Those that succeed are promoted to true Boss Baby status (complete with golden potty). Those that fail are deprived of their special baby formula and turned into actual babies. In other words, this is a movie about an "infant" kept in a drug-induced, pre-toddler state, who must prevent a megalomaniac from committing global genocide.
Tom McGrath Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire, Miles Bakshi Michael McCullers Ramsey Ann Naito 20th Century Fox

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