The Boss Baby Voices of Miles Bakshi, Alec Baldwin, Lisa Kudrow. Directed by Tom McGrath. Rated PG. Opens Friday citywide.
What the hell do Hollywood studios think kids like? That’s the main question raised by The Boss Baby, a baffling, bizarrely misconceived animated movie about a baby that dresses in a business suit and spouts corporate speak in the voice of Alec Baldwin. The movie starts out with a fairly solid central metaphor, as young Tim Templeton (voiced by Miles Bakshi), a kid with an overactive imagination, envisions his new baby brother as, well, a boss, demanding all of his parents’ time and attention, which they used to devote to Tim. It’s a cute way to illustrate sibling rivalry, taken from the picture book by Marla Frazee.
But there’s not nearly enough in that picture book for a feature-length film, so director Tom McGrath and screenwriter Michael McCullers expand Frazee’s simple premise into an elaborate, mind-boggling mythology about where babies come from, complete with a celestial corporation dedicated to preserving baby supremacy, baby formula that conveys eternal babyhood and characters with names like Super Colossal Big Fat Boss Baby. By the time Tim and his baby brother are racing to stop the launch of a rocket full of immortal, genetically engineered puppies, something has gone seriously wrong. Some of the visuals are well-designed, and Baldwin gets in a few funny lines, but The Boss Baby is so weirdly off the mark with its plot that everything else is just background noise.