BOSS BABY, THE
Tim (Miles Bakshi) is a wildly imaginative 7 year old who perceives the arrival of his new baby brother (Alec Baldwin) from his own unique perspective. Tim discovers his new brother is a spy (complete with suit and briefcase) on a secret undercover mission.
Review by Louise Keller:
In a wonderful conceit, this family friendly Dreamworks animation catapults us into the realms of the boundless imagination of a 7 year old boy, when the family's new arrival appears to be an instead threat, rather than a cute, cuddly baby brother. Based on author and illustrator Maria Frazee's children's book of the same name, the film's title character is an outrageously precocious, bad tempered baby in a dark business suit, who arrives in a taxi, carries a briefcase, writes memos and booms orders in Alec Baldwin's deep, gravelly voice.
It might lack the finesse of Pixar's Inside Out, but the film has some inspired and imaginative touches as the exposition takes us on a journey that is a mix of conspiracy theory, sibling rivalry and importance of family. Upbeat and colourful with a top voice cast and funny lines that ricochet so fast you have to keep your wits about you, The Boss Baby is all about perspective.
When we meet Tim (Miles Bakshi) at home, we see first hand how his ripe imagination propels him into far-away worlds: be it the jungles of the Congo, the depths of the oceans or pirate ships in the sky. These are happily countered by the sense of security bestowed on him by his loving parents (Lisa Kudrow and Jimmy Kimmel), who read stories, give hugs and sing his special song: Lennon McCartney's Blackbird. The sense of threat to Tim's sense of wellbeing and security is well depicted, when his immediate perception of his new sibling is that of a sneering mini dictator shaking his emotional stability. The Boss Baby's mission? To discover why the irresistible cuteness of babies is under threat by a new wave of adorable puppies, whose are now claiming a larger slice of the pie chart - for parents' affections.
Highlights include the Baby Corp delivery sequence in which babies of all colours spit onto a never-ending assembly line, as little bottoms are powdered and pacifiers popped into place. Watch for the Las Vegas sequence, in which Elvis impersonators with hilarious slo-mo patter and tailored music hit the funnybone jackpot. I also like the scene (accompanied by celestial harp), when the warring siblings, who agree to work together to achieve a 'win-win' situation, delight in the luxuries of first class travel.
The narrative takes a dip about half way through - the plot becomes overactive and rather pointless as a result. But it picks up again and the use of music is especially good. As for Alec Baldwin, he steals the film and simply sizzles in the central role. The combo of visuals, voice and patter is delicious. Youngsters and adults alike will warm to this baby boom.
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BOSS BABY, THE (G)
VOICES: Alec Baldwin, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire, Miles Bakshi, Patton Oswalt, Steve Buscemi
PRODUCER: Ramsey Ann Naito
DIRECTOR: Tom McGrath
SCRIPT: Michael McCullers (Book by Maria Frazee)
EDITOR: James Ryan
MUSIC: Hans Zimmer
PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 23, 2017 (Advance screenings March 18, 19, 2017)