Film review: ‘The Boss Baby’ makes a mess in the theater

What better way to celebrate the end of awards season than a movie about talking babies in suits?

March brings us a seemingly promising yet ultimately disappointing new animated flick — “The Boss Baby.” The film stars Alec Baldwin as the titular character and follows seven-year-old Tim Templeton as he navigates his life upon the arrival of his new baby brother, who just happens to be a baby who’s actually a boss — a literal boss from the company Baby Corp. — in a suit and everything. Boss Baby’s mission: take down rival company Puppy Co. before adorable puppies take over the balance of love between babies and puppies. At first it seems like a cute premise, and even the idea of Alec Baldwin as a baby is honestly funny. Now’s the point where I’d say, “Spoiler ahead!” but unfortunately there really isn’t much to spoil — because while the premise is there, the content is not.

Most of the movie is spent with Tim and Boss Baby as they bicker and bicker … and bicker. A lot of gags and throwaway jokes are included to fill up these complex chase scenes which, while small feats of animation wonder, didn’t do much to interest me. “The Boss Baby” is centered heavily around the dynamic between siblings, so maybe it’s because I’m an only child, but I didn’t understand or come to fully appreciate the rapport between Tim and Boss Baby. The visuals were great, the jokes were relatively funny and the voice acting was solid, so why was I struggling? I’ll be honest — I tried really hard to enjoy the movie, but I couldn’t get into it.

When it comes down to it, “The Boss Baby” is downright too predictable. Tim and Boss Baby go on a wild ride to track down the CEO of Puppy Co. and inevitably succeed. The end. The arguments between the two drag on forever for no particular reason, and Boss Baby to a certain point felt too distant of a character. I wasn’t able to figure out whether it was Tim or Boss Baby’s narrative, and by focusing on both characters, the plot became heavily muddled, leading me to question the logic of some of even the simplest of plot points. The idea of Baby Corp. also just seemed a little out there —  granted, “The Boss Baby” is derived from a children’s book, so maybe that’s directly pulled from the story. Even simply the idea of Boss Baby himself is a little odd — a baby who’s actually a C-suite executive in a company that manufactures babies to give to families but keeps some who live forever as employees, never to truly have a loving family? If you felt at all weird reading that, you understand how I feel. It’s a little disconcerting and a little uncomfortable, especially for children’s fiction.

On the aesthetic side, the images and animation are quite wonderful. There are some very impressive sequences involving more of a 2D style that are supposed to show what Tim is imagining in his mind, and the chase scenes, however superfluous, are visually elaborate and interesting. Similarly, the overarching theme of “The Boss Baby” is that everyone should love and accept each other, and everyone is both deserving of and needs love. Aww. Cheesy? Yes. A little extensive considering the limited content of the film? Yes. But harmful to the film? Not at all — and, mind you, this is a message that wouldn’t hurt to be spread a few more times over to the world at large.

Unfortunately, even with a great cast and a unique plot, the movie is unable to deliver the complex, well-developed script that audiences demand of today’s films. “The Boss Baby” has an endearing message and is a cute, visually appealing film, but all in all, it’s a lot of fluff and not very much substance. If you’re looking for easy animated appeal for a small child, “The Boss Baby” will provide two hours’ worth of baby-fat-jiggling comedic fun, but otherwise, look elsewhere for a weekend flick.

“The Boss Baby” opens in theaters on March 31, 2017.

Alec Baldwin voices the eponymous Boss Baby (Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation).


Review: Just because you can make a movie about a boss baby doesn't mean you should

THE MOVIE THEATER — Do you remember how the last few weeks of grade school before summer break would drag on forever? After watching Dreamworks Animation's newest release “Boss Baby,” the summer movie season cannot come soon enough.

"Boss Baby" tells the story of a 7-year-old only child named Tim Templeton played by Miles Christopher Bakshi as he struggles to come to terms with the fact he is no longer the only child of his family and now has to share attention with a new baby brother, voiced by Alec Baldwin. Arriving by taxi cab in a business suit and briefcase, it is clear the new baby brother isn’t all that he appears to be.

I won’t ruin the plot because it is kind of interesting the way it unfolds, but it is safe to say the two brothers have to figure out how to work together to get what they both ultimately want.

“Boss Baby” is one of those films that just seems like a way to plug a hole in a studio's yearly lineup — not bad enough to send straight to video, but not good enough to release any other time of year.

The good
Funny in a few places
There were several times throughout the film I laughed hard enough I could hear myself (or as the kids call it I LOL’d.) The humor in the film did surprise me at times with some out-of-the-blue funny moments, and a little potty humor mixed in. The children in the theater thought this was funny too by their reactions.

Creative Plot
I kind of assumed the overall story would be a little more generic than it was. The plot delivered an interesting twist that tied “Boss Baby” and Tim’s fates together and forced them to become allies. With Steve Buscemi voicing the role of the villain, the plot moves along in an entertaining way.

Alec Baldwin
Alec nails the role of the fast-talking business baby, making a lot of otherwise weak scenes enjoyable because of his delivery. However, there is only so much that can be done with a script or character that isn’t already written into the part. Baldwin earned his paycheck on this one.

The bad
Two competing story lines
It is difficult to tell what this movie was really about beneath its surface, as the underlying story of this film is never made clear. Is this a story designed to help children come to emotional terms with accepting a new sibling into the home or is it a film about ruthless corporate ladder climbing? I can’t think of many things that have less to do with each other.

The problem is that there is never a clear connection between the two and you are left wondering “how on earth did these two things make it into the same movie for children?”

Clichéd

I guess it’s no surprise that there is not a lot of new ground to be broken in animated baby movies anymore, but this didn't stop Dreamworks from trying.

“Boss Baby” is loosely based on a picture book entitled “Bossier Baby” written by Marla Frazee. I think trying to make a full-length feature film loosely based on a picture book is like trying to make a movie loosely based on a nautically themed board game that features an alphanumeric coordinate system. There are a lot of holes to be filled to make this type of film production strategy work.

Conclusion

Even though I have more likes for the film listed than dislikes, they cannot make up for what the movie lacked. I laughed a few times and appreciated some voice acting, but in the end “Boss Baby” is just another unnecessary animated movie designed to keep movie theaters from going out of business in the offseason.


20th Century Fox & Dreamworks Blackmailed Over The Boss Baby Leak

When copies of movies leak onto the Internet, there is usually very little studios and distributors can do about it. Once a copy gets out there, it’s invariably too late, with thousands of people downloading in the opening hours.

Recently, however, a potential leak took on a different complexion. Sometime in February, a then unknown individual managed to get his hands on a pre-release copy of the upcoming Dreamworks movie The Boss Baby.

According to a local media report, the movie was due to be distributed in Serbia by local company MEGAKOM during April. But first, it needed to be localized with a Serbian language soundtrack.

Somewhat bizarrely given the security that usually surrounds high-profile releases, the movie ended up on a translator’s PC. The movie was copied, apparently without her knowledge, to the laptop of a man who lives with her.

Instead of immediately leaking it online, the man – subsequently identified as 26-year-old Momcilo Đinović – reportedly decided to make some cash. He contacted DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox with blackmail demands – pay a large bitcoin ransom or have your global release day ruined.

With help from local police, distributor MEGAKOM launched an investigation to find out how a third-party had obtained the movie. That involved tracing back the IP addresses of the person carrying out the extortion.

Meanwhile, local media reports indicate that 20th Century Fox paid Belgrade-resident Đinović – the son of a retired policeman – first four and then five bitcoin. Apparently, that was not enough to satisfy the 26-year-old, but in any event, things didn’t end well.

After being arrested by local police, Đinović appeared at the High Prosecutor’s Office charged with extorting both 20th Century Fox and Dreamworks. The judge ordered him to be held in pre-trial detention for 30 days. Sources close to the investigation inform local news outlet Novosti that he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Serbia has certainly been busy on the piracy front in recent days. According to an announcement from the Ministry of the Interior, two suspects have just been arrested following an investigation by the country’s organized crime unit into popular local TV streaming site, Serije.rs.

Police reportedly carried out searches of flats and other premises used by the site’s administrators while seizing equipment. The pair stand accused of committing criminal copyright infringement offenses.

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