Once the Oscar nominations were announced, there was a sudden backlash against The Boss Baby. How could such tripe be nominated for Best Animated Feature over popular franchise gems like The Lego Batman Movie or Cars 3? In my opinion, easily, like taking candy from a baby.
You see, Dreamworks’ The Boss Baby isn’t about a baby in a suit hungry for power. Not really anyway. The real story is about an imaginative seven-year-old named Tim and how he processes the news that he is going to be a big brother. As soon as his parents gently ask him if he’d like to have a baby brother, we are launched into Tim’s fantasy about where babies come from, how his new brother would arrive and how it would take over and change his family and his life. And the whole thing would be because of a big conspiracy, where a corporation of babies are competing for love against their rival: puppies.
How silly, right? But the mind of a kid is silly. And it allows the movie to take some very fun and imaginative liberties with what these babies and Tim can do. What would really be a humdrum play-date, turns into a chase scene in the back yard complete with epic exploding fireballs and the Boss Baby being thrown through an upstairs window. Tim’s Gandalf inspired alarm clock becomes a cute sidekick. A puppy product launch involves actually launching a rocket filled with puppies. And my favorite scene is when the brothers sneak onto a plane full of Elvis impersonators headed to Vegas! So many animated films lately strive for realism or draw the line very neatly between fantasy and reality, while The Boss Baby goes for broke and blurs the line in such a fun way that I think it works and adds to the film’s charm.
For my growing family, The Boss Baby has become a favorite lately. It came on Netflix not long after my husband and I told our three-year-old that he’s going to be a big brother. While he has his own questions and worries, watching a story about a kid learning to love and accept the new baby, and his new role as a big brother is helpful. Sure, they have a rocky start, as I expect my son and his future sibling will, but my son always ends the movie with his hand on my belly, asking if the baby can feel him yet. It’s helping him bond already and the film’s message about love is strong enough that a three-year-old gets it.
Sure, The Boss Baby isn’t some cutting edge animated masterpiece, but to write it off as a running Alec Baldwin baby in a suit gag doesn’t do it justice. It’s a cute, surprisingly smart, film about love that families, especially growing families, can enjoy together.
“This is not about Lamb-lamb!”