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Monday, February 05, 2018

The Boss Baby

The Boss Baby is the second of the Best Animated Features I've seen. Oscar watchers were somewhat surprised this got nominated, as it had middling reviews. But it did make almost five-hundred million dollars, so there's that. I found it to a fairly amusing diversion.

Seven-year-old Tim has a perfect life, as he's an only child and gets all the benefits. But he has a surprise coming--a baby brother. As this is a film for children, where babies come from is given a fantastical answer. The baby arrives by taxi, and is wearing a suit (and does not have a name). We see the mother pregnant, but she does seem to have actually given birth to the baby. The biology of all this doesn't add up.

Anyhoo, the baby, voiced by Alec Baldwin in his Glengarry Glen Ross mode ("Cookies are for closers"), has the intelligence of an adult who has been to business school. The plot reveals that he has not been born, he has been hired. He is in Tim's household because both parents work for a pet supply company. Baldwin works for Baby Corp., and puppies are soaking up all the love, and he's an industrial spy. It's a torturous plot.

Mostly the film rests on the notion that babies acting like adults are funny, and that is true most of the time. There are lots of diaper and poopy jokes, and I thought the idea of a pacifier being used as a psychic transport was funny. Baldwin really sells his character.

But The Boss Baby is not transformative animation. The visual style, though computer-generated, recalls Warner Brothers cartoons, with sharp angles and fewer colors.

A sequel is not is way in the year 2020!

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