Rating: 3.5 out of 5
There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed at nostalgic adults than young kids who will miss the rapid-fire movie references. But it's also silly and busy, and cute enough to make everyone in the audience sigh a few times. And it's anchored by a terrific vocal performance from Alec Baldwin that channels his infantile Donald Trump impersonation to hilarious effect.
The story is told through the eyes of a creative 7-year-old named Tim (Tobey Maguire as the film's narrator, Miles Bakshi as the character), who has enjoyed growing up as the only child of his playful, loving parents (Lisa Kudrow and Jimmy Kimmel). Then a little baby brother (Alec Baldwin) arrives, and Tim discovers that he can walk and talk, and also that he's the CEO of Baby Corp, sent on a secret mission to spy on Puppyco, where Tim's parents work. Apparently, puppies are becoming more popular than babies, and now the Puppyco boss (Steve Buscemi) is preparing to launch a breed of puppy that will forever steal the love of parents from their children. In a panic, Tim teams up with the Boss Baby to get rid of him for good.
It's clear to grown-ups in the audience that all of this is happening in Tim's wildly imaginative head, which kind of eliminates any tension in the crazed action mayhem that follows. Younger viewers may find the premise itself rather baffling, but will enjoy the hyperactive pacing and snappy dialogue. The only problem with this is that it means that the movie remains resolutely superficial, touching on big issues like sibling rivalry and corporate greed without ever dealing with them. And it presents a baby as an aggressive invader, which may be how it sometimes feels to an older sibling, even if we know better.
Still, it seems silly to complain that a goofy animated comedy isn't more grounded in reality. Baldwin's verbal timing is impeccable, delivering each line for maximum hilarity. Maguire provides a nostalgic touch in his narration, which swells into full-on sentimentality now and then. Kudrow and Kimmel add edgy comedy gags here and there, but are sidelined by the story. And Buscemi spices things up as the mastermind villain with a ludicrous plan of his own. So it seems like a bit of a missed opportunity that the script doesn't go anywhere interesting, focussing merely on fart jokes and obscure vintage gags. But it's still a lot of fun.
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Facts and Figures
Run time: 97 mins
In Theaters: Friday 31st March 2017
Box Office Worldwide: $118.5M
Distributed by: DreamWorks Animation
Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, DreamWorks Animation
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
IMDB: 5.4 / 10
Cast & Crew
Director: Tom McGrath
Producer: Ramsey Ann Naito
Screenwriter: Michael McCullers
Starring: Alec Baldwin as Boss Baby (voice), Miles Christopher Bakshi as Tim (voice), Steve Buscemi as Francis E. Francis (voice), Jimmy Kimmel as Father (voice), Lisa Kudrow as Mother (voice), Tobey Maguire as Older Tim / Narrator (voice), Conrad Vernon as Eugene Francis, Vivi Ann Yee as Staci (voice), Eric Bell Jr. as Triplets (voice)