Directed by: Tom McGrath
Written by: Michael McCullers
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Miles Bakshi
Baby versions of nearly every species have been deemed to be cute no matter how gross they may be when they reach adulthood. From a baby bat, baby alligator, baby shark, and I could go on and on. The king of all small cute things still remains the human baby because they come from us and we care for them. Boss Baby asks what it would look like if there were an organization run by babies to ensure they remained at the top of the cuteness hierarchy.
Tim Templeton (Miles Bakshi) loves being an only child and getting all of his parents’ attention. This perfect situation gets interrupted when the parents come home with a new baby, who happens to be dressed in a suit. The baby has been named Theodore (Alec Baldwin) and he happens to talk. After Tim catches Theodore’s communications to his organization they duke it out.
The entire concept of Boss Baby reaches levels of ridiculousness I cannot truly comprehend. To attempt to break it down, we have Baby Corp., comprised of babies, who drink a serum that allows them to act and talk like adults in their small bodies. They operate with the purpose of maintaining their status as the cutest thing in the world, which comes under attack when puppies are on a rise. Probably their fiercest competitors for a while and Theodore gets tasked with discovering Puppy Co’s plan to take over the cuteness market. Does that make sense? It parallels the idea of a stork delivering babies to parents on ridiculous ideas.
The battle between the two corporations becomes the plot but the draw and the comedy comes from Theodore, also known as Boss Baby, acting like a ruthless businessman while being a baby. It also makes it more unnerving when Alec Baldwin’s deep voice comes out of the mouth of Boss Baby. The intention of comedy certainly exists when they have Boss Baby literally boss Tim around with getting him sushi and coffee as if he’s ready to hit Wall Street for some trading. On the surface, it has some humor but it’s rather troubling when you look beyond it. Anyone who has ever worked for a boss, who behaves in the same way as Boss Baby, you know that kind of behavior is extremely toxic. It usually comes paired with incredible disrespect for the employees below them. Attempting to make a corporate operative, who treats other people badly, a cute little baby takes away from the truly ugly side of corporations. Never should they be conveyed in such a lackadaisical way, because the actions of Boss Baby are to harm another company through corporate espionage.
Additionally, the film never misses the opportunity for a fart joke, which would make sense in a story about a baby, but the amount in this movie should be some sort of drinking game. Not something I can fully endorse, because it may leave some lasting damage to your liver, but the number of fart jokes felt so uninspired and lazy that it took away from the overall message the film tried to put forth about being an older sibling.
As the oldest sibling, I don’t remember what it felt like when my brother was born. I was only three at the time and probably thought more about picking my boogers rather than what it means to be an older sibling. Instinctually, however, I probably held some jealousy with the attention my younger sibling received, which once all belonged to me. Going through this process becomes the moment of growth for Tim in the story. It became a genuine fear for Tim to have someone else loved by his parents that it would have made for a fine movie without the new sibling being part of a huge corporation and with the mind of an adult. It comes full circle and lands the thematic beat it lays out in the beginning.
Unfortunately, it got overshadowed on several occasions with the mixed messaging of the story and how it was executed overall. The lack of originality in the jokes made parts of it quite boring and the corporate message makes sense when coming from a huge studio, but should not be celebrated within art in my estimations. It’s ultimately a mixed bag, but if you enjoy a bunch of farts in your bag, then go ahead and open it up.