‘The Boss Baby” is like a diaper. It starts out fresh but it sure doesn’t take long for it to become a stinker.
The idea of a baby (voiced by Alec Baldwin) who is more worried about the formula for a good stock market buy than the formula he drinks has potential. A genius baby hiding his abilities is the set-up for a lot of potential plot points. But Michael McCullers’ script, based on the book by Marla Frazee, takes the least interesting option. Even in the flexible world of animation, the idea behind “Boss Baby” is too convoluted and confusing to be interesting.
Tim (Miles Christopher Bakshi) is convinced he has the perfect life. When he’s not imagining himself on a wild adventure or living a spectacular life, his parents treat him with waves of love and affection. The idea of a boy who can’t stop daydreaming is interesting but done far better in the 1954 cartoon “From A to Z-Z-Z-Z.”
The life Tim loves so much changes when a baby brother arrives one day. In this world, it is a taxi driver who delivers the new bundles of joy.
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This is no ordinary baby brother but a representative of a mysterious baby corporation made up of serious minded babies. Other than working in cubicles, their purpose is not clear. It seems their only mission is to stop a major corporation from launching a new product that will transfer all parental love to their pets.
Tim’s parents work for the corporation that is causing the baby’s so many sleepless nights. The only way Tim can win back the love his parents have shifted to Boss Baby is to help the suit-wearing infant stop the evil corporation’s plan.
Unlike “Storks,” which created a believable industrial world of baby making, “The Boss Baby” sets up a corporate structure that never has the kind of elements on which to build a movie. Are there really that many baby problems that an army of office workers is needed?
The idea keeps going downhill as Tim and Boss Baby go on a mission to save the baby world. Their peril never seems that compelling as neither older brother nor Boss Baby are likable.
The writing depends on no one noticing the huge gaps and completely misses an ending idea that could have saved the movie. Tim’s overactive imagination would have brought the movie into a more linear direction but the way the existence of Boss Baby is eliminated seems like the best of a dozen bad ending ideas.
Even a better script would not have helped. Having Baldwin voice the baby is jarring, especially since he started doing impersonations of President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.” The Trump-like delivery fails because even if Boss Baby has the emotional and mental maturity of an adult, he should still speak with a childlike voice.
Tom McGrath, who has showed great skills with animated offerings like “Madagascar” and “Megamind,” can’t make this movie work. He tries to create a fun rhythm but the movie keeps getting slowed to a crawl by the sagging diaper of a story that has the same mushy consistency of baby food peas.
“The Boss Baby” has a few funny moments (including disposable diapers called “Poopies”) but the overall result that it never delivers. It’s like a crying baby. All you want is to think of a way to make it stop.