If you’re going to judge the new Dreamworks animated film The Boss Baby on its trailer alone, this is a movie that would never make it to your kid’s eyes, let alone yours. It just looks dumb right out of the gate. A baby in a business suit that speaks with the voice of 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy himself, Alec Baldwin? When I witnessed the ad campaign, I thought “Really? Why this?” because I really thought that they were bringing the lowest common denominator to children’s films. Upon more research, the film is based on a best-selling book that became a hit baby shower gift but the question is: did Dreamworks just buy the story, gut it and parade something else in it’s hollowed out body? An even better question, was I going to feel angry that I subjected my own child to this?
The film follows Tim, a seven-year-old boy that lives the suburban life with his mom and dad, both employed as marketers for a big pet company called Puppy Co. Blessed with a massive imagination, Tim spends his days with his parents making up adventures and stories, ending each day with a series of bedtime tales, hugs and his special song, Blackbird, originally sung by The Beatles. All of this makes a huge shift when a new arrival makes his way to his doorstep, his new little brother. Something is off about this new family member as he is dressed in a suit with a briefcase in hand and an unknown agenda on his mind, unannounced to his unwitting parents.
2017 seems to be the year where movies constantly catch me off guard because The Boss Baby had me smiling throughout and laughing very consistently. I think why this movie works so well with its insane storyline is because we never leave the point of view of young Tim and his extensive imagination. Things are rationalized in a childish way but it’s where things are blown out of proportion that the film gets a bit of temporary emotional weight. Has Tim’s parents forgotten about him and are all the things he once loved, like the stories, hugs and songs, all going to this new imposter in his house? This quickly becomes the greatest movie to show your little one when planning a new member of the family as it speaks to them on their level.
For those adults thinking that this still sounds all too unbearable, I will tell you that there is something working in our favor and that is the grown up wit of the script. The banter between Alec Baldwin and the young voice of Tim, Miles Christopher Bakshi, has so many great hidden gems within it and the chemistry between the two characters is so very likable. The argument of the baby stealing things away from Tim leading to him saying that “Blackbird” was written for him, prompting the question “by Lennon and McCartney?” had me laughing very hard. If anything, The Boss Baby is the opportunity for 30 Rock fans to hear the voice of their favorite fictional network executive speaking through a baby. It definitely worked for me. 4/5