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The Boss Baby: Family Business – Movie Review

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The Boss Baby: Family Business – Movie Review

Rating: C+ (Above Average)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

The first Boss Baby movie was a film largely reliant on the humorous idea of Alec Baldwin’s voice coming out of a baby’s mouth. This concept felt stretched when utilised in a feature-length animated film. Meanwhile, the sequel operates on a sugar high as it rarely slows down. The Boss Baby: Family Business has a few promising ideas, but the movie is constantly in a rush as it jumps from one big colourful set-piece to the next. While the 1950s-inspired animation is pleasing, the film does become a bit of a sensory overload.

The movie does begin with a few interesting themes, primarily the now adult Tim’s concern that his oldest daughter is growing up too quickly. One of the high points of Boss Baby 2 primarily comes from Tim’s baby Tina. Amy Sedaris voices the character with the needed spunk as she sends her father and uncle on an important mission. The animators give her plenty of expressions and she ends up stealing the show. Another impressive piece of character animation comes courtesy of the villain Doctor Armstrong, the founder of an advanced school. He feels like he walked right out of a Disney animated film from the ‘50s, especially recalling Tweedledee and Tweedledum from the studio’s Alice in Wonderland.

One of the stronger elements of the first Boss Baby was the visual presentation, which recalled the work of UPA. That continues here with production designer Raymond Zibach giving the film plenty of colour and creative environments. Despite how admirable the animation is, the sequel again disappoints in the story department. There’s an attempt to show a rift between Tim and his younger brother Ted, but it’s not quite as compelling as it could be. However, this can largely be blamed on the movie’s pacing, which is at hyper speed. There is rarely a moment where Boss Baby 2 slows down and takes time to rest.

Director Tom McGrath puts together several big action scenes, ranging from a pony chase through the city to baby ninjas. As vibrant and colourful as they are, we’re given one right after the other and it gets tiring rather quickly. While a few chuckles occur here and there, again mostly due to Sedaris, most of the comedy disappointingly goes for easy jokes. We get sudden references to movies like Norma Rae and The Shawshank Redemption and even DreamWorks’s own Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, along with some other bizarre gags. There is even a bit of product placement, courtesy of Play-Doh and Mentos, that’s a tad distracting. Thankfully, the film does have less toilet jokes than its predecessor.

One can understand the need to take The Boss Baby: Family Business in wackier directions and even though the first film was profitable, you can tell McGrath and his team did have a story they were excited to tell rather than the sequel being merely produced for financial gain. Those who enjoyed the first film will probably get the same enjoyment with this second chapter. For those who found The Boss Baby already an idea stretched to its breaking point, it’s debatable whether the sequel will change minds. The filmmakers and animators definitely had fun putting this film together. There’s just a wish for calmer and less chaotic scenes.

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE