Movie Review: The Boss Baby

Landon Santini 
lbs001@marietta.edu

Image from www.wikipedia.com.

This week, we’ll be looking at the 2017 animated children’s film The Boss Baby. Long story short, this film is about a baby that’s basically an adult in a baby’s body. It’s a baby voiced by Alec Baldwin who was . . . made by some factory so that it has the intellect of an adult. It gets sent to a family with a mother who was pregnant, and yet he arrives in a Taxicab for some reason. Anyway, the older brother, voiced by Miles Christopher Bakshi, is jealous that’s he’s not getting as much time with his parents anymore. He wants to do something about the baby before it’s too late and he loses his family forever. So the two have to unite to figure out how to get exactly what the other person wants.

As strange as this may sound to some people, I really don’t understand this film. I’m not kidding. It is a little confusing. This film is told from the perspective of the main character Tim Templeton. Viewers get his narration as an adult looking back onto his childhood thanks to the voice talents of Tobey Maguire. We get to watch this young child get used to the idea of having a baby brother. He also has a very active imagination, so we are often shown these sequences where Tim is doing fun things with his parents while the animation format changes in conjunction with his imagination. This is old school retro-style animation reminiscent of things out of the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

But as the film continues, and more magically impossible things start happening. The line between Tim’s imagination and reality were slightly blurred for me. I found myself wondering if the events on screen was actually happening. Whenever Tim is pretending to be a pirate on the high seas, you get the impression that he’s doing it to give himself the courage to do something that he was afraid of. Then later on in the film when there’s a rocket ship, magical puppies and probably the worst airport security I’ve ever seen in my life. These events seem to be animated as if they’re actually happening. And so I don’t completely understand what the filmmaker is trying to say with this film.

All this aside, the child that goes to see this film isn’t really going to care all that much. Is this film funny? I would say so. Will children be entertained by it? I would say so. Alec Baldwin is really good as the Boss Baby. Miles Christopher Bakshi as Tim Templeton is a good fit. There is a little bond that develops between the two. What this film really touches on is that the fear that you get as a child when you discover that you might be having a sibling and wonder if the parents’ attention are going to wane for you. Children going through this tend to wonder if their parents are still going to love them. The eventual message learned is something that I think children will really appreciate and possibly take away from the film.

Since it does touch on that fear that children have over receiving a new sibling That is probably the most praiseworthy aspect of this film. The animation in this film is also rather noteworthy. Strangely though, I’m not entirely sure when or where this film takes place either. It seems to have a 1970s aesthetic to the point that pretty much every song heard in this film is from around that era. There’s also a lot of Elvis stuff in this film, and pretty all of the fonts for the opening titles, or the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign has a very retro look to them as well. It almost seems like the film is taking place in the 1960s or 70s. The first half of the film was kind of annoying. The Boss Baby was just way too much to take in. He really got on my nerves. Towards the second half, it did pick get better when the two brothers begin to bond.

In the end, the film just doesn’t really make sense. It’s almost like it takes place in a fantasy world. As I said, when the film ends, you’re given something to think about which at first seems to make sense. This film is kind of an enigma. But then again, I’m looking at this film from an adult perspective. Children who see this film will no doubt be satisfied with the cute baby noises, funny jokes, poop and fart noises, and seeing a character get hit in the crotch.

It’s not awful by any means. It looks a lot worse than it actually is. There are some good messages for children, the animation is pretty good, and there are a few adult jokes that my mother and I laughed at. At the same time, it is essentially an annoying forgettable film that doesn’t really make sense when you start to think about it too much. So as such, I’m going to give this film a score of 3 out of 5.

Movie Review, Opinion