Dreamworks 1: The Boss Baby

So I announced a few days ago that I am going to be starting a Dreamworks series of reviews. In that post I gave a schedule for the reviews because I am not going to review them chronologically. However, I haven’t been able to post my Shrek review yet so I am making a change and having their latest release The Boss Baby as my first in the series. You guys all know how little I was looking forward to The Boss Baby, so let’s tear off this band-aid and talk about it.

The Boss Baby is extremely loosely based on a picture book by Marla Frazee. Since seeing it I’ve been trying to imagine the board meeting where this concept was pitched. “We are going to make a movie about a baby that’s a boss. It will be a big hit”. These people are going to devote years of effort and millions of dollars and yet somehow they decide a talking baby movie is a great idea? How does that happen?

Anyway, how does the movie turn out? There are positives: the lead character of The Boss Baby is a little boy named Tim who leads an idealistic life with a wild imagination. Occasionally the movie will dive into this imagination and those segments are bright, colorful and a lot of fun.

The animation on the whole is as good as we have come to expect from Dreamworks. I also enjoyed the music from Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro and there are a few nice moments of emotion between the two brothers.

You see little Tim’s ideal world is disrupted by a new baby brother who is delivered in a taxi cab, wears a suit and talks like Alec Baldwin. Tim’s parents are completely fine with their baby looking like this and arriving in this way, which is odd. It is such a strange way to start off a movie but it gets even stranger.

It turns out that in the world of this movie babies are made on an assembly line with some going to families and others to “management”. The lucky chosen babies for Baby Corp are taken directly from the assembly line to a cubicle in a vast office building where they will spend the whole of their lives. This seemed incredibly sad to me. I hated corporate work-life so much that I can’t imagine being stuck in a cubicle from the time you are born and never being mothered or loved. All they want is the great corner office. This felt sooooo strange coming from a baby. And this is never really resolved in the film. At the end Baby Corp still exists and the babies are still working in those cubicles…Yikes

A lot of the appeal of this film will depend on how funny you think it is to see Alec Baldwin take his Jack Donaghy shtick from 30 Rock into a baby. There are a few decent laughs but for me it was more annoying than humorous. At the very least it is extremely repetitive and the only other humor is of the toilet variety.

The other weird aspect of The Boss Baby is the idea of babies competing with puppies for love. At one point in the film, Boss Baby presents the babies with a chart showing babies losing love to puppies and how that is hurting the bottom line of Baby Corp. His goal is to spy on Tim’s parents who work for Puppy Corp and find out about a new breed they are releasing.

On one level this plot could be effective as children often fear losing love of their parents when a new sibling comes into the picture. Unfortunately here the wrong message is shown because a finite or limited amount of love is shown and never really resolved by the film. In real life of course, love doesn’t have limits. We can love 2 kids and then we get another and we can love 3. Love expands that way. So the idea that puppies will steal love from babies is just not true and could be kind of confusing for kids. Children need to know there is plenty of love for them not that there are limits.

But all of that wouldn’t matter if it was funny or engaging in other ways but The Boss Baby just isn’t. It quickly falls into a poorly executed Toy Story/Secret Life of Pets copy. After all, you have the main character leading the perfect life and then the newcomer disrupting it. They hate each other and then must learn to work together. Sound familiar…

Particularly the last 30 minutes go completely off the rails with a boring villain, chases, races, and a trip to Vegas. It just doesn’t work and becomes pretty generic and boring.

Here is my youtube review. I would really appreciate it if you gave it a like or subscribed to my channel if you haven’t yet:

But I don’t know if I could ever personally get over the weird premise and a baby that’s a boss. It’s just not for me. If the trailers appeal to you then maybe you will enjoy it. I definitely think it goes with Home and Shark Tale as one of the worst Dreamworks films.

Overall Grade- D+ and yes I’d rather watch Rock Dog than this…Get it together Dreamworks!!


19 thoughts on “Dreamworks 1: The Boss Baby

    1. Yeah there is a villain. They were fine in their voice work. Thanks for reading my post and excited to get started in this project

  1. Honestly, I just expected this one to suck from the start. I mean, really? What are they trying to do here? Stultify themselves, apparently. Good review, though!


      1. Cool. Thanks. I was just wondering if there was minions burnout but it sounds like from what you are saying there isnt

      2. From the trailer, I think the new one has more crude humor and I wish they were making a new movie instead of ANOTHER sequel, but I bet I’ll like it if I see it.

      3. Right! I totally agree. At least last year with Sing and Secret Life of Pets it was a little different from Illumination

  2. So the movie is pretty much everything that everyone expected. Great blog post, and at least you got this film over and done with.

    1. Pretty much! I must admit I’m having a hard time motivating myself with this Dreamworks project but I need to watch Prince of Egypt and some of the good ones and it will help

  3. I think this movie was better than The Secret Life of Pets at any rate in that I at least could watch it and be entertained. The thing I respect DreamWorks is that while they mostly make these strange comedies, they at least try to put some quality into their films. A movie like The Secret Life of Pets is really just content to pile in as many cutesy things I can and cost by on that.

    The Boss Baby did put some time into the plot. It did at least attempt to explain the bizarre premise, and make it intriguing. The movie is strangely unbalanced, however. It comes up with an interesting start, but it seems to lose track of where it’s going and wander aimlessly throughout the second act straight to the third.

    I wasn’t bothered by the idea of the babies going to corporate, though. I felt it was too bizarre to take seriously, and the ending was very touching, so much so it almost made up for the rest.

    I’ll admit that I was inclined to like this more, because I usually have nothing to do on the weekends but on the Saturday I watched this my father suddenly came up with all these ideas for fun things to do and took us both out to see this as a surprise and I was so touched I was inclined to like it more.

    If you read Roger Ebert’s autobiography, he had a professor who talked about “first-rate second-rate writers”. I don’t know if I can justify this as a good movie, but it is at least an absolutely first-rate second-rate movie. It does fall into the same category of enjoyably surreal animation as Bee Movie, and I think most people will be more entertained than they expected.

    1. That sounds like a fun experience with your Dad. It appears most people seem to like it better than I did. It seemed very one joke to me and I think Secret Life of Pets had lots of strange moments like that weird sausage factor scene or in the sewer gang. That was so weird. Not a great movie but I like it better than Boss Baby.
      I guess it just wasn’t made for me which is fine. I know what you mean about first-rate second-rate. I hope I get that out of Dreamworks next movie Captain Underpants. We will see!

Leave a Reply