As somebody who’ll laugh at any word that comes out of Alec Baldwin‘s mouth in that bossy, Wall Street bull-in-a-china-shop Jack Donaghy (“30 Rock”) voice, I laughed and laughed at “The Boss Baby.”
An animated tale of a bossy, business-suited baby taking charge of a threat to babies everywhere by leading his stunned older brother on a secret mission, with dialogue riddled with Baldwin in-jokes (his “Glengarry Glen Ross” hardcase sales chief)? Hilarious.
“Put… that… cookie… down! Cookies are for closers!”
But here we are, four years and one 50 episode-run TV series later, and the “Boss Baby” is out of laughs. And those who would further profit from the Baby with Baldwin’s Voice gag are hard-pressed for ideas.
“The Boss Baby: Family Business” is a sequel to the TV show and the earlier movie, with an adult Theodore Templeton (Baldwin still) tearing up the business world, too busy to marry, quick to over-gift brother Tim (James Marsden) and his family (Eva Longoria) for the times he’s not there with them.
Tim’s recovered/forgotten that Theodore was once the diapered top agent/”fixer” for Baby Corp., and has a little girl of his own — Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) — and a new toddler in the house.
Guess what? Baby Tina has the same calling Theodore once had. And she’s voiced by comedienne Amy Sedaris like a baby on Red Bull and a deadline.
“I’ve been on hold so long I’ve got a TOOTH coming in!”
There’s a new threat to babies, and it’s coming from this Acorn Corp, a “Little Einsteins/Baby Geniuses” operation designed to maximize every child’s potential and run by this expert (Jeff Goldblum, of course) who shames parents everywhere with “The only thing holding your child back is YOU.”
It’s “The END of childhood” as pampered, coddled American babies know it. And Acorn and Dr. Armstrong must be stopped! There’s nothing for it but to de-age Theodore, and Tim too (by accident) so that they can go undercover as infant and sibling at the Acorn Academy.
Get in, get the dirt, foil the bad guy, get out.
“Who wants to play ‘Shawshank?'”
There are a lot of voices I adore in this, Goldblum especially. And he milks this Dr. Armstrong with every plummy vowel, in every language, that the character pronounces.
It’s still the Baldwin show, with cracks about “Norma Rae,” “Night of the Living Boomers,” shots at public radio (Baldwin’s had shows there over the years) and singing “Strangers in the Night” in something not unlike his Tony Bennett impression.
“What a buncha diaper-sniffers” and “What the frittata?” are the caliber of one-liners.
The entire affair isn’t terrible, just a drag. Truth be told, they’ve taken this idea and pounded the cute right out of it. Time to put the pacifier in this boss baby and move on.
Cast: The voices of Alec Baldwin, James Marsden, Amy Sedaris, Jeff Goldblum, Eva Longoria, Lisa Kudrow and Jimmy Kimmel
Credits: Directed by Tom McGrath, script by Michael McCullers based on characters created by Marla Frazee. A Universal release.
Running time: 1:47