“Let’s just say I’m the boss”
Thought number one when leaving the cinema, ‘Huh. That wasn’t as bad as I thought!’ followed up by thought number two, ‘Could have been a whole lot better though.’ Thought number one 24 hours after seeing the film, ‘I really can’t remember all that much about it…’
Hopefully the above paragraph gives you both an insight into my thought processes but also an insight into what ‘kind’ of animated movie The Boss Baby is. Arguably you could pose the point that, as a 20-something without kids, I am not the intended audience for the film. But I think such a comment does a disservice to the children of the world – they deserve good movies too! We are lucky enough to live in a world in which Pixar exists and graces us with on average one corker of a movie a year. Then there’s Laika Entertainment (Coraline, Kubo and the Two Strings to name but two). Disney made one of the most beautiful films of last year with Moana (click here for my review). The Despicable Me franchise from Universal & Illumination Entertainment. Let alone the works of Studio Gibli. There’s also Cartoon Saloon (the beautiful Song Of The Sea) and who could forget Aardman Animations (the home of Wallace & Gromit). Suffice to say – animation isn’t just for kids. Just because they may not have entered double figures yet doesn’t mean they deserve mediocre cinema.
The Boss Baby is a bit above mediocre, but only just. Baldwin’s vocal performance as the eponymous Boss Baby is the most obvious highlight – providing laugh with ease as he plays a baby who was chosen to be a manager rather than belong to a family. Having a wildly unreliable protagonist also helps as well, Miles the resentful 7 year-old older brother is a boy who describing as ‘imaginative’ would be a grievous understatement. Part of the moderate fun of the film is trying to work out how much is where the truth ends and the bias begins,
The film’s trailer drastically undersells this part of the film. The film’s centre, the very heart of the film, is the universal experience of an older sibling being usurped by the arrival of a new addition. The feeling of terror that the affection and adoration of your parent’s attention must now be divided – the fear over whether that equation will be equal? It’s during these moments that the film really shines and seems refreshing. These are also the moments that are depicted in variously inventive ways, different animation styles are played with to regularly stunning effect.
It’s a shame that the plot itself is so nonsensical and dragged out. During the third act in particular things get really senseless, tedious and too ‘quirky’ for its own good. It tries to go big when really it should have stayed at home, continuing to explore family dynamics in a way that is genuinely funny and endearing.
‘Boss Baby’ opened in UK cinemas on April 1st.
Year: 2017 Runtime: 97 minutes Dir: Tom McGrath