Review: The Boss Baby (Dreamworks)

The Boss Baby

Today, we’ll be taking a look at The Boss Baby.  William found this on Netflix this week.  I have his profile set to Netflix Kids and I told him that he can watch anything he can find there.  He typically watches Pokemon, Yo-Kai Watch, Skylanders Academy and a handful of strange shows he’s discovered.  Occasionally, he will go looking for something different.  What he found was The Boss Baby.  I remember seeing the trailer and thought it would be cute, but never actually went to see it.

The Boss Baby
Image Credit: DreamWorks Animation and Fox Movies

Premise of The Boss Baby

***Low/Moderate Spoiler Alert*** The Boss Baby is a universal story showing how a new baby coming home impacts a family.  The story is told by Tim, The Boss Baby’s older brother.  He is an adult now and tells us the story of  of his 7 year old having wild adventures with The Boss Baby.  He has a wild imagination and often times his narration shows us a little embellishment to the original story.  The “big bad” in the movie is puppies.  Yeah, that’s right…puppies.  Cute, adorable puppies are the villain.

The Boss Baby was sent to the Templeton house to gather intel about Puppy Co.  Puppies are getting more love than babies and Baby Corp wants to know why.  The two begin their adventure.  I won’t go into further plot details in case you want to watch the movie.

The Good Things about The Boss Baby

There are quite a few good things here.  The animation itself is beautifully done, exactly as one would expect from a studio like DreamWorks.  The attention to detail when Tim goes off into one of his crazy imagination scenes is just superb.  And the switch back to reality is not a jarring experience.

The voice acting is top notch.  Alec Baldwin voices the Boss Baby, 7-year old Tim is voiced by Miles Bakshi and adult Tim is Tobey Maguire.  All three of them are absolutely fantastic.  Steve Buscemi is the CEO of Puppy Co., Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow are Tim’s parents.  I couldn’t say anything bad about the voice work if I tried.

There are some good lessons here.  Working as a team, the boys learn, is far more efficient that trying to go alone.  In the beginning of the movie, the boss baby tries to accomplish his mission on his own.  He soon finds out that working with Tim is a far better option.  Predictable, but a lesson is a lesson.  There is enough love in a family to go around; new babies don’t mean your parents love you any less.  Excellent lesson for those older siblings struggling with this.  Tim uses his imagination constantly, which is awesome.  He actually reminds me a lot of my son, who has an imagination about as wild as Tim’s.

The Bad Things about The Boss Baby

Just because you have good things, doesn’t make it a good movie.  The biggest issue I have with The Boss Baby is the lack of actual wit and humor.  Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t chuckle or snortle a couple of times.  Yes, I just made up a word.  Deal with it.  William was downright tickled at a couple of points.  More often than not, the humor is above the heads of children and far too one-note to be more than mildly amusing for adults.

 

The premise is solid.  It’s actually based on a children’s board book by Marla Frazee unsurprisingly called The Boss Baby.  I’ve not read the book, only reviews of the book after learning that the movie was based on it.  My son is a little past the board book phase.  The movie simply didn’t take into account that what works in a 36-page board book might not work in a 97 minute movie.  The story just wasn’t good enough to keep an adult’s interest.  That’s a shame, because any parent can relate to the premise.  The baby comes home and he (or she) is the boss.  They cry, you come running.  They poop, you change them.  The baby is in charge.

Image Credit: DreamWorks Animation and Fox Movies

 

What should parents know?

 

I’m not one of those helicopter parents or a parent that thinks her child should grow up in a bubble.  William likes what he likes and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it.  Now, I do stop him from watching obvious things like Nightmare on Elm Street and Family Guy.  But, he knows exactly who The Simpsons are.  Mind you, it’s not because he’s ever seen the show…he plays Lego Dimensions, which they are featured in.  He loves to watch videos of Five Nights At Freddy’s on YouTube.  He’s going to be a horror videogame fan, for sure.

All of that being said, I’ll share what I believe some parents will want to know.  There is infrequent potty language. Note the wording there, words like “doody” and “fart.”  insults made by The Boss Baby include “you went to community college” and “brat.”  Tim’s imagination runs wild and is sometimes what some children may find scary…maybe creepy is a better word.  Tim and The Boss Baby hit/slap each other, but there is no extreme violence.

Overall, this is very much child appropriate.  Having watched it with William, I would definitely say most (if not all) 5 year olds can distinguish the difference between what is real and what is Tim’s imagination in the movie.  There are moments of peril or danger, but they aren’t scary.  Older children still won’t get the adult jokes and the heist theme that is geared toward parents, but may also find the movie less interesting than their younger counterparts.

The Future of The Boss Baby

A sequel is planned for 2021.  Alec Baldwin is in.

On December 12, 2017 there was an announcement that there will be a Netflix television series based on the movie.  It is to take place after the events of the movie.  The show is to premiere in 2018, but no release date has been published as of this writing.

What do Mommy and Ninja think?

Mommy:  Well, it kept William’s interest enough to watch it back-to-back…that’s a win 8 days a week!  It’s really not a good movie.  I wouldn’t recommend this to adults without children.  I chuckled a few times, but rolled my eyes more.  DreamWorks gave us a dud this time.

Ninja:  “I like it, because it’s awesome and it has a boss baby and he can talk.  And he’s making a plan against an evil villain, which are puppies.”

The Boss Baby Details

RatingPG (Mild rude humor)
GenreAnimated
Kids and Family
Comedy
StudioDreamWorks Animation
Runtime97 Minutes
Box Office$498.9 Million USD
Mommy and Ninja Rating
With a 2.5 out of 5, this should go without saying, but this is not a good movie. William enjoyed it thoroughly, which is why it rated as highly as it did. The humor just fell flat here.

The Boss Baby~

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