‘The Boss Baby’ is Very Strange yet Oddly Enjoyable

The_Boss_Baby_posterWell that movie was certainly…something.

“The Boss Baby” stars Alec Baldwin as the voice of a baby who is a secret agent in the war between puppies and infants. Miles Christopher Bakshi, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow also star as Tobey Maguire narrates. Tom McGrath directs.

The trailer for this film was a bit interesting and I don’t mean the actual content of it. Some people like me thought it looked pretty funny, and the idea of Alec Baldwin voicing a baby dressed in a suit was fantastic. But there seemed to be an equal amount of individuals who thought this looked like the worst film ever. Turns out while it certainly isn’t Pixar, “The Boss Baby” is a very strange, oddly enjoyable film with some solid voice acting.

This is an animated film, so I’ll touch on that first. The animation, like the rest of the film, is odd because half the time there are inspired sequences and clever visuals but then there are other parts where they lean more towards the Illumination side of the aisle and things seem simple and lazily put together. Kids may not notice or care, but an adult watching may catch onto the trend. The baby designs are cute and the pure image of a toddler in a suit and wristwatch carrying a briefcase is, to me at least, hilarious.

Baldwin is amazing in everything he does and he is perfectly cast as the baby here. Pretty much what his character from “Glengarry Glen Ross” would be like if he was transformed into an infant (there’s even a reference or two to that film), Baldwin is charming and devious and just plain fun. Miles Christopher Bakshi voices the family’s 7-year-old son Tim, and he does a great job in his first starring role (he did some small background work in the “Shrek” franchise).  Tim doesn’t like the idea of having to share his parents’ love with a new brother and Bakshi does a good job conveying the emotional stress and annoyance that a lot of young kids do feel when they suddenly aren’t the center of their parents’ world anymore.

The score by Steve Mazzaro and (randomly?) Hans Zimmer is quite good too, with playful takes on famous songs and helping to give an adventurous tone and feel to the whole film.

Now let’s get into the weird of this film. I really have no idea what it is trying to be or what the rules of its universe are. The mother is pregnant but the Boss Baby arrives in a taxi, there is a giant henchman for an evil corporation who is just the strangest thing I’ve seen in a kid’s film in a long while and there seems to be no sense of reality or consequence in their world. Kids sit in airports without getting attended to, babies have to talk in secret so parents can’t hear them except sometimes that rule is broken… I really can’t put this film into words. I’m sure a group of college students in their dorm could find just as much trippy fun from this as a five-year-old kid.

The film’s biggest flaw is it does fall back on poop jokes a little too often, and like I said sometimes the “rule breaking” or lazy animation may take viewers out of the experience too much.

“The Boss Baby” isn’t necessarily “good” but I would be lying if I said my friend and I didn’t have a good time laughing with (or occasionally at) it. Baldwin is great, some of the jokes are fantastic and the sheer tone-deafness of its recognition to its intended audience is incredible. Even if it isn’t going to go down in animated lore, my theater full of kids was laughing often and there were even some points that had parents chuckling pretty hard, too. I guess this is one baby you can’t put in the corner.

Critics Rating: 7/10

20th Century Fox

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