Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Movie with Abe: The Boss Baby

The Boss Baby
Directed by Tom McGrath
Released March 31, 2017

Beginning in 1937 with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,” Disney produced a number of classic animated films, with a handful of particularly well-received entries produced in the 1990s. “Beauty and the Beast,” released in 1991, was the first film to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, losing to a movie not at all of the same genre, “The Silence of the Lambs.” A decade later, an individual category was created to honor animated films for what they are, achievements that do not involve live action but instead feature any number of methods to create landscapes, characters, and stories. I can’t imagine that anyone had “The Boss Baby” in mind when they came up with that idea.

Tim (Miles Bakshi) is a seven-year-old kid living happily with his parents (Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow). Everything changes when a new baby brother arrives in the form of the Boss Baby (Alec Baldwin), who takes all of their attention. When Tim becomes jealous, he discovers that the Boss Baby can talk and is on a secret mission from Baby Corp to make sure that babies remain cuter than anything else, which is being threatened by the unleashing of a new product by the rival Puppy Co, where Tim’s parents work. Initially at odds, Tim and the Boss Baby must work together to make sure that babykind is forever protected, all the while pretending that the Boss Baby is nothing more like an adorable toddler.

If this summary sounds unsophisticated, that’s because it is. This is hardly the stupidest film ever released, but it’s also far from the cleverest. This reviewer only watched it because of its relatively surprising Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. The eligibility of twenty-six features somehow resulted in this film being chosen, despite the fact that there is nothing innovative or special about its animation and its story is far from original, though it has received far better notices than the universally-reviled “Baby Geniuses,” which this reviewer actually enjoyed back when it was released in 1999.

It’s possible that kids will enjoy this film, though a lot of the humor is aimed more at adults, who will surely be spending the entirety of their viewing experience rolling their eyes at the film’s jokes. Alec Baldwin is the very recognizable voice of the title character, trying on a very different role from the type that he usually plays, with Kimmel and Kudrow obviously having fun and Steve Buscemi adding his signature energy to voice the main villain. This film isn’t insufferable, but it’s also far from funny and definitely one of the lowest quality films to be nominated for an Oscar.


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