The Boss Baby is a sweet story of a 7-year old who has to cope with his parents getting a new baby who just so turns out to work for a baby enterprise trying to shut down the harmful Puppy Cooperation. The film is a mediocre family flick that’ll score the attention of children and may even pull at the heart strings of some adults. The film’s real strength lies in the bright colors, the fairly fun premise, and the fast pace of the film. The film does, however, have some significant flaws in the messy and unfocused plot, the cliche dialogue and some dull voice-over work by the A-list cast of actors.
The premise of the film is sort of fun and interesting: Alec Baldwin as a baby in a suit. And the premise holds up for a while. There are some truly funny moments that take place for the first half of the film due to this premise. But sadly the charm wears off when it becomes painfully evident that the movie is about a premise, not a plot. And the screenplay then starts leading the audience to the third act in which much of the film seems to collapse upon itself, just to wrap everything up with an awkward but sufficient bow at the very end. The dialogue is also not very clever and seems to try to milk the premise more than should be possible. The jokes are old, the lines are cliche, but when it comes to some of the slightly more emotional scenes, the screenwriters evidently know what they are doing.
And this sweetness that can be found scattered around the movie is also partially due to the voice-over work of fourteen-year-old Miles Bakshi who voices our 7-year-old protagonist. He has an incredible sense of naivety and innocence that effortlessly transforms to greediness and recklessness. The rest of the cast, however, does not seem to put a whole lot of effort into their performances. Alec Baldwin does a fast-paced, business-y voice that doesn’t do much in the sense of the character dynamicness. Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow as the parents are very much there– at least it seems– for the pay check and the film doesn’t really use them for much except familiar names and publicity. Steve Buscemi as the CEO of Puppy Co. is also exactly what one would expect of Steve Buscemi in a simple-minded animated movie (interpret that however you wish).
Where the film really stands out though is in the visuals. The film is a feast for the eyes, with popping and vibrant colors that help bring the absurd premise to life. The character designs are fun, although perhaps a little lacking of creativity, and the set pieces are cool to look at, especially the Boss Baby headquarters. Steve Mazzaro and Hans Zimmer’s quaint little score is also very pleasant and helps milk some of the emotional scenes, but doesn’t do anything incredible. Tom McGrath’s slick way of telling the story, with a keen eye to tenderness, is exceptionally useful in telling this story of a sleek and smooth business-tycoon type and McGrath’s quirky sense of fast-paced story telling is wonderful at keeping the viewers attention.
Overall, this is a pretty okay film. One can always just wait until it pops up on Netflix and watch it one rainy afternoon if there’s nothing else to do. In that case, it will probably keep your attention for its 97-minute runtime, but it won’t still be fresh in your brain much more than a week or two after watching. The film does feel a little like a premise-film more than a well-plotted story, but for the audience it was intended for the premise holds up well enough for the majority of the film and the colors alone will probably do the trick.