Film Review: Amusing, Forgettable “The Boss Baby: Family Business”

the boss baby family business - movie poster one sheet reviewLike a story out of a late-night drinking session with long-suffering preschool staff, the 2017 animated feature The Boss Baby was silly fun, with lots of laughs due to the improbable juxtaposition of babies and corporate business. The film featured the voice talents of Alec Baldwin as the baby and Tobey Maguire as older brother Tim. Rounding out the family were Jimmy Kimmel as Dad and Lisa Kudrow as Mom. The film was a surprise hit for Dreamworks Animation, pulling in over 500 million worldwide.

Kids grow up and families grow apart, and The Boss Baby: Family Business opens with Tim married with children and Ted (Baby from The Boss Baby) a super successful, endlessly busy hedge fund manager. Tim (this time voiced by James Marsden) is married to Carol (Eva Longoria) and they have two girls, super smart but awkward 7yo Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) and new baby Tina (Amy Sedaris). Tabitha is a brainiac and top of her class at the Acorn Center for Advanced Childhood. She reads obscure college textbooks for relaxation. Tina, meanwhile, turns out to be a secret agent for BabyCorp and it’s her mission to figure out what’s really going on at the Acorn Center.

Tina’s going to need help with this mission and when Uncle Ted shows up for the Christmas holidays, she suggests to Tim and Ted that they could have a “brother’s bonding adventure” while they help out BabyCorp, like they did all those years ago. The wrinkle is that adults aren’t allowed at the school so they have to… you guessed it… go back to being babies! Unfortunately, the secret time reversal formula doesn’t quite work as intended and Tim ends up 7 years old and enrolled in Tabitha’s class, while Uncle Ted ends up crawling on the floor in diapers.

ted and tim, from the boss baby family business - publicity still photo
Ted (Baldwin) and Tim (Marsden) from “The Boss Baby: Family Business”

They infiltrate the Acorn Center for Advanced Childhood and meet its mysterious founder, Dr. Erwin Armstrong (Jeff Goldblum) who indeed has nefarious plans for the world. With the help of his cadre of super-smart babies, he’s going to eliminate parents entirely – after all, who wants someone telling you what to do and when to go to bed? – and create a better world!

That’s the entire plot, if you can call it one, and honestly, The Boss Baby: Family Business is quite amusing, a modern family movie that’s ostensibly targeting the little ‘uns while slipping in sly references and lines that have an entirely different meaning for the adults in the room. It’s also incredibly predictable and because of that, forgettable too. As I write this review less than 48 hours after watching the movie, I barely remember any of the story elements. But that’s okay; this is a film meant to be watched, enjoyed, and forgotten, not endlessly analyzed and discussed.

There are certainly some plot points that could be examined more closely, however, notably including the theme of school being evil because teachers are “doing unknown things to our children” and brainwashing them to believe other than what we as parents hold to be true. But that’d be taking this all seriously, right? So let’s forget about that entirely.

The Boss Baby: Family Business is fast, lively, colorful, and highly entertaining. Your kids will enjoy it if you take them to the theater, or just catch it on Peacock and know that the little ones will likely want to immediately watch it a second time. Which I predict you won’t mind. To keep yourself occupied, keep a close eye out for the many, many easter eggs throughout the film too, including a number from the Toy Story universe.

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