Where do babies come from? That dreaded question kids ask and the million and one variations told thereafter by parents is given a feature length film in The Boss Baby. You see, babies aren’t born, they’re chosen through a complicated system of ticking with a feather. If you giggle adorably like the masses, you’re a family baby. If you don’t? Well, its upper management for you and a life of endless memos and clawing to the top of the pile.
Unfortunately for 7 year old Tim, his perfect life with his parents is about to be turned upside down when he discovers he’s about to be a brother. To make matters worse, one of the management babies has been “chosen” as the child for Tim’s parents and what ensues is an interesting sibling dynamic between Tim and his new Boss Baby who’s on a secret assignment. Reluctantly, the two have to work together to stop a bigger evil at work but will they be able to put their differences aside to do it?
Its an interesting idea and told through the unreliable narration of 7 year old Tim’s eyes, its given a burst of child’s imagination at every turn. This was arguably the best part of the film, making some of the more tedium parts of the film larger than life with an injection of creativity. A long haul flight turns into a game of walk the plank with pirates, sneaking downstairs turns into a tense spy espionage and a run round the garden turns into an explosion filled, physics-defying chase. It’s great stuff and infused with the talent of Hans Zimmer on the music, its elevated more than it should be.
The gravelly, cool voice of Alec Baldwin as the Boss Baby is a great touch and his chemistry alongside brother Tim move the film forward. The further forward it delves though, the more far fetched it becomes. Whilst I appreciate as an animation a degree of disbelief can be forgiven (after all a talk baby wearing a suit is the main character here), it feels lazy when the main villain is given nonsensical motivations and a maniacal laugh for the sake of it. It almost feels like it was tacked on as an afterthought and detracts from the main draw here – the baby and Tim.
You see, where The Boss Baby really shines is when it explores the interesting sibling dynamic between Tim and the baby. It draws such parallels to the first couple of weeks and months of a new arrival to the family and I thought Boss Baby does a great job of showing this, albeit through the over-active imagination of Timmy.
The final third of the film gets a little too formulaic for my liking and the after-thought villain was a disappointment but families and kids should be happy – this is vintage Dreamworks material and complete with its bright, vibrant animation dripping with enthusiasm will be enough to sustain attention. Complete with puppies and babies, The Boss Baby is a good animation let down by a poor final third. Its ending is satisfying enough to almost make up for its shortfalls but those after a silly throwaway animation, can’t go wrong here.