Movie Review: “The Boss Baby” brings grown-up laughs


I can’t tell you what tiny tykes will get out of “The Boss Baby,” the latest rude, grownup-joke riddled ‘toon from Dreamworks.

They’ll probably get a charge out of the “poof” fart joke during the baby powdering scene. Maybe the Three Stooges style dope-slaps this not-HR-approved “boss” delivers to his “team,” his parents and others will earn a giggle.

The sibling rivalry story at the heart of it will probably resonate.

But “Give me BACK that cookie. Cookies are for CLOSERS?” Nah. They won’t get the “Glengarry Glen Ross” reference, or snicker at the fact Alec Baldwin is the voice delivering that line.

The whole premise, with Baldwin voicing a baby executive sent undercover to a family to figure out what the pet company employee parents are doing for those sneaky puppy pushers — puppies steal much of the love meant for babies, after all — is going right over the heads of smaller kids.

But anybody who reveled in Baldwin’s corporate Kool-Aid drinking Jack Donaghy of TV’s “30 Rock” cannot HELP but laugh and laugh a lot at this demented riff on a child’s reaction to the demon seed whom his parents have introduced to him as his new baby brother.

Tim, voiced by Tobey Maguire as an adult looking back on this nightmare from his past, voiced by Miles Christopher Bakshi in his elementary years, is a boy with a vivid, dark imagination. He fantasizes assorted hair-raising adventures as a young man of derring do. Which is why he’s the only one who’s suspicious when his new brother is “delivered in a taxi.” Wearing a (onesie) business suit.

The kid squawks, gurgles, coos and giggles for their parents (Lisa Kudrow and Jimmy Kimmel).  He sucks up all their attention.

“Are you taking over our house? YES you are! Yesss you are!”

But when they’re not looking he’s calling secret meetings with other neighborhood babies, taking calls (on his toy phone) and plotting and scheming. Yes he IS taking over their house.

“I think the kid’s onto me.”

He is. But maybe Tim can be reasoned with so nobody gets hurt.

“We can talk about this over a juice box!”

The brotherly battle royale is on, with the punk with a pacifier trying to organize some counter-espionage against the Puppy Pandering Company and Tim trying to expose the baby for what he really is — a Wall Street goon in diapers.

boss1The film, from “Madagascar” sight-gag guru Tom McGrath and based on a Marla Frazee novel, is peppered with clever touches. Tim’s alarm clock, “Wizzie,” is Gandalf from “The Lord of the Rings.” Wakey wakey, my little Halflings! But every so often, in Tim’s fevered imagination, he breaks format to give real advice.

“FLY, you fools!”

Pacifiers are a quasi-hallucinogenic way of seeing the reality of how babies are made.

“If people knew where babies came from, they’d never HAVE one! Same with hot dogs, by the way.”

Being grounded, in Tim’s mind, puts him in a cell on Alcatraz — in solitary.

But best of all is Baldwin, bringing that brutal purr to every non sequitur (“POWER NAP!”), every put-down (calling Tim by his sissy middle name), every balderdash business aphorism — “Aim for failure, and you’ll always SUCCEED!”

If you can’t see the connection between this fast-talking, heartless brat and Baldwin’s other famous role of the moment, you’re blind.

“We can share!”

“You obviously didn’t go to BUSINESS school”

There are plenty of poor reviews (the fools) piling up on “The Baby Boss.” “Madagascar” wasn’t the subject of many raves, either. Not everybody is going to get it.

But I connected with its out-there take on the first days of sibling rivalry, the acknowledgement that humanity is utterly distracted by cute puppy videos on the Internet and with Baldwin, a silky-smooth comic bully whose onscreen bark is always a lot worse than his bite.


MPAA Rating: PG for some mild rude humor

Cast: The voices of Alec Baldwin, Tobey Maguire, Lisa Kudrow, Steve Buscemi

Credits:Directed by Tom McGrath, script by Michael McCullers, based on the Marla Frazee novel. A Dreamworks/20th Century Fox release.

Running time: 1:37

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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