Alec Baldwin’s ability to completely embody a role never ceases to amaze. Within the space of a handful of years, the man has shaped the entirety of shows and movies. From Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock, to Dennis in The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, to perhaps one of his best, and most unfortunately necessary performances, the recurring role of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, Baldwin has played a variety of roles while always remaining quite familiar. Speaking of familiarity, the handful of viewers familiar with Baldwin’s work who are also watching The Boss Baby might recognize an earlier role as the spoof/inspiration for his current character. Baldwin basically channels his role as Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross in the newest animated children’s movie, The Boss Baby. Fortunately for The Boss Baby, the PG version of his Glengarry Glen Ross character is the hysterically perfect fit for this movie.
The Boss Baby follows Storks as the second children’s movie within the year to focus on the mysterious origins of babies. The movie opens on a giant baby production line in the sky, as the audience follows one blonde infant who doesn’t behave the same way as his fellow newborns on the conveyor belt. When he reaches the end of the line, instead of being selected for “Family” like all of the other giggling neonates, he is marked for “Management.” This demarcation means that he will receive a magic formula that will keep him a baby forever while also allowing for his intelligent thought and language. This infant, who the audience later finds out is Boss Baby (Baldwin), joins his fellow management babies in a giant cubicle jungle.
Meanwhile, Tim (Miles Bakshi), a 7-year-old boy, is enjoying his life as his parents’ only child. He uses his wild imagination to create exciting worlds and games to play with Mom (Lisa Kudrow) and Dad (Jimmy Kimmel). Every night, after a few stories and hugs, his parents play him his special song, The Beatles’ “Blackbird,” which Tim, in perfect childlike wonder, believes Mom and Dad wrote just for him.
When Mom and Dad bring Boss Baby home, Tim finds himself pushed to the side. His parents spend their time running around in the middle of the night, trying to get Boss Baby to stop crying and go to sleep. Tim soon discovers Boss Baby’s ability to talk intelligently, and of course, hijinks ensue.
The Boss Baby is a great children’s movie. There are lots of laugh-out-loud moments composed of slapstick humor, as well as many adorable animated characters doing adorable animated actions. But this kids’ movie is also a great family movie. There are a lot of nudge-nudge jokes toward the origins of infants, as well Boss Baby’s constant jokes about management. The Boss Baby also adds an extra layer of potential enjoyment for the adults who have seen lots of other movies. There is direct reference to the cup of water scene in Jurassic Park, as well as references to Paranormal Activity and of course, Glengarry Glen Ross.
The children’s comedy is also quite smart. The Boss Baby brings a relevant and impactful message about how children can feel unwanted or unloved by their parents when a baby is in the house. There is also the dichotomy between Tim, a kid with an amazing and funny imagination, and Boss Baby, a by-the-books, goal-oriented “business” type. Of course, they learn to work together, but this is an important message about how different personality types might have trouble meshing. The amount of heart and feeling that The Boss Baby imparts to the viewers is shocking. Members of the audience, of all ages, could be heard stifling their tears at some of the sadder or sweeter moments in the movie.
The MacGuffin of The Boss Baby is the idea that there is only so much love to go around, and puppies are taking too much of the “love pie chart” from babies. Boss Baby’s concern for the lack of love mirrors Tim’s own concern for his own family dynamic. While The Boss Baby doesn’t make any new cinematic strides, it does convey a good and important meaning to audiences. There is a surprising deepness hidden below the dermis of this film. The Boss Baby may have been marketed for children, but there is a quality movie waiting for delivery to any audience member.
Featured Image by 20th Century Fox