The Boss Baby is the story of how a baby who was never born and his seven-year old brother saved the world from the ultimate threat: the ultimate puppy!
The Boss Baby opens at BabyCorp, with babies on an assembly line being groomed and diapered and moving along until they come to a fork in the line – babies that laugh when tickled move on to being born, while those who don’t get trundled onto the fork that reads Management.
Then we meet Tim (voiced by Miles Bakshi), a seven-year old boy with doing parents (Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow) – his life is perfect. Then his baby brother arrives – The Boss Baby (voiced by Alex Baldwin) – in suit, carrying a briefcase.
When the adults aren’t around, The Boss talks – on a phone with a hotline to Management, and with a quartet of baby confederates (the girls and the baby version of the Hulk). They are planning to find out what evil plan PuppyCo has for enslaving the world with cuteness (also, little bit of jealousy…).
When Tim overhears them, they have to prevent him from telling his parents – which sets up the first round of glorious silliness.
Despite detesting each other, the two find themselves having to work together to learn what PuppyCo is up to – the deal being that once the Boss Baby learns their plans, he’ll be out of Tim’s life forever.
Written by Michael McCullers (Mr. Peabody and Sherman) and directed by Tom McGrath (the Madagascar Trilogy), The Boss Baby is painstaking in its world building on macro and micro levels – we learn the ins and outs of BabyCorp (and the Boss Baby’s idols) and the relationship that builds between the brothers is skilfully done.
The design and execution of The Boss Baby call to mind some of the greats of the past – the off-kilter layouts of Chuck Jones; the energy of Tex Avery, and so forth, but The Boss Baby is its own thing.
Aside from the many creative sight gags (like the car chase seen briefly in the trailers), there are plenty of good lines for the kids and the odd reference that will slay the adults (one Wall Street quote is particularly wonderful).
The film also has a lot to say about the joys of family and the value in being able to co-operate – but these are delivered through clever gags and genuinely solid emotion.
The animation is DreamWorks usual high (but not quite Pixar) standard and the film’s 97 minutes zip by.
Final Grade: B+