With the constant release of top-tier animations from studios such as Disney/Pixar or Warner Brothers Animation, it is easy to forget how good we have it. Thankfully every few months a film is released that is such lamentable drivel that we are brutally reminded of our privileges. No, this wasn’t Illumination Entertainments newest endeavour, it was actually a DreamWorks Animation feature.
The most glaring fault with the movie is the lack of, well, anything. It’s difficult to choose a single core failing when almost all it tried to do fell flat. I have to empathise with Alec Baldwin as the veteran SNL performer tried with all of his might to drag the film upwards to no avail.
Go look up a poster of the film. How long until it becomes unfunny? 2 minutes? 5? 10? What about 98 minutes? Writer Michael McCullers seemingly refuses to extend the humour beyond that of ‘Oh look! It’s a baby in a suit’. When he does, it falls into one of three categories. The first being generic baby jokes. There are only so many times you can see a baby’s bottom before it becomes tasteless. And that number is 1. The other two categories can be put down to the need to appeal to adults too, with office and pop culture references.
Now these can both produce incredibly funny moments if implemented successfully. Sadly McCullers seems so desperate to pander to the adult demographic that he forces them in any nook and cranny he can find leading to an incredibly messy script. The most notable of these is 7 year-old Tim’s speaking wizard alarm clock. Each scene it appears in it spouts the most irrelevant Gandalf quotes in a very, very loose impression of Sir Ian McKellen’s iconic character. It is more than just lazy writing, it’s insulting the intelligence of every unfortunate audience member sitting in the theatre. How any of these jokes made it through every stage of production perplexes me.
After you’ve torn off each layer of stale jokes you can finally look at the story within. But the plot is just as messy as the humour. Babies aren’t born, they are manufactured, but by other babies? When created they are separated into two groups, ones that will go to live on Earth and the rest will be managers to help in the creation of more babies. Bewildering enough on it’s own, the test to see who goes where is a feather. If you laugh you go to Earth, if not you are upper management. Cue laughter.
Our focal baby, Boss Baby (yes that is his name) is sent to Earth to sabotage ‘competing’ company Puppy Co, who create puppies out of thin air in the same manner. The sabotage is to stop the puppies getting a majority of parents love, taking away from their own share. While this seems to be the bizarre result of a focus group of small children, the film reaches a semi-heartwarming moment at the end of the second act once they have achieved their nonsensical goals. Rather than end it here, the baby and ‘brother’ Tim then board a plane of Elvis impersonators to Las Vegas for the third act.
You might think that this film is so wacky it would be a hilarious watch. Don’t be fooled, director Tom McGrath somehow manages to make it impossibly dull. If you are on a long-haul flight, and this film is your only option for entertainment, go to sleep.