“… if there’s one thing I’ve learned, you’re only a kid once.”
Story: The wheel of time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend…. Oh wait. Wrong series. But time has indeed passed for Boss Baby Ted and his older brother Tim. Tim’s a stay-at-home dad loving his life, his successful wife, and his children; Tabitha and baby Tina. Ted is, of course, the CEO of a huge mega-corporation with little time for anyone. But Ted and Tim don’t know that Tina has stepped into the three piece onesie Ted left behind at BabyCorp. They don’t remember anything about those adventures, as a matter of fact. Time to get the time-turner, baby formula edition!
Genre I’d put it in: Sweet Family Friendly Sequels
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Second film in the Boss Baby franchise.
Gotta say: I thought about actually watching the first film before tuning into this movie… But you know what? I decided to go in blind. I never saw The Boss Baby. I thought it would be… What’s the word? Bad. Yes, I thought it would be bad. But I’ve heard good things as more and more folks watched it. So maybe I’ll watch it later. Why? Why not? After Business, I’m totally game for more heartfelt messages wrapped up in baby shenanigans.
This film has lots of frenetic energy that kids will eat up, along with over-the-top goofiness that’s sure to please. But this film has heart too, and slings some messages at you while you’re watching all the mayhem flash on screen. The satirical take on education – especially the way education of the very young pushes kids to succeed way before they’re ready – is razor sharp and laid on thick. The older kids are expected to know everything from particle physics to multiple languages, and the challenge to stay at the head of the class is cutthroat. Meanwhile, infants are left to their own devices with very little supervision. As you’d expect, they’re a chaotic mess, and having “baby” Ted interact with them is hilarious, thanks in large part to screamingly colorful imagery and top notch voice actors. (Special shout-out to Molly K. Gray as “Creepy Girl”. I don’t know what she does to her voice to get it that…creepy. But it’s fantastic.)
The juxtaposition of original Boss Baby Ted with his new breed niece Tina is nice as well. The original boss baby was always about climbing to the top of the corporate ladder, damn the torpedoes… But Tina is all about helping everybody succeed in being the best they can be. Needless to say, Ted is not happy about that new change in mission statement. Voiced delightfully by Alec Baldwin and newcomer to the series Amy Sedaris, the butting of heads between T&T lets these actors really rip. Meanwhile, Tim’s oldest daughter Tabitha is in second grade, and starting to outgrow Tim’s fun, laid-back attitude. Tim’s worry that Tabitha doesn’t need him anymore – and Tabitha’s worry that she’s not good at everything all the time – is something both young and old can understand. It’s also set in the holidays, which makes this an official Christmas movie!
Business feels a bit overlong at an hour and forty-seven minutes. Perhaps that’s due to so much going on, with very little deep diving into any on thing. All that chaotic energy started to wear on me, and halfway through I began wondering when (or if) the pace would ever slow down long enough to catch its breath. We’ve got Tabitha’s worries, Tim’s worries, Tina trying to save BabyCorp/the world, a pony with an attitude, parents, grandparents, sibling drama, and a Big Bad voiced by Jeff Goldblum in high camp. Everything packs into the run time, but sometimes the pace is too fast (any time we should get character development or bonding) other times too slow (every time the Big Bad is on screen bloviating. Sorry, Jeff.)
Still, there’s more to recommend than shove aside, and I understand that the main audience members for this flick will be kids and their exhausted parents. So maybe they won’t mind the emphasis on slapstick and lack of depth or sincerity. Bring forth the pony and all the glue! (Oh wait, that sounds bad. Not like that, y’all! KIDS MOVIE.)
#Protip: Need to take the little ones to the Boss Baby Bathroom when the credits roll? Go for it; there are no end-credits scenes.