Genre: Animation / Comedy / Family

From the title alone, the first impressions of this film do not bode well.

But the films saving grace happens the minute Alec Baldwin’s voice emanates from the Boss Baby’s mouth. Baldwin plays the Boss Baby like a cross between his TV 30 Rock character Jack Donaghy and the no nonsense Blake, from the movie Glengarry Glen Ross (1992).

At the start of the film we are introduced to our protagonist, seven-year-old Tim (voiced by Miles Bakshi, Grandson of Legendary film animator Ralph Bakshi The Lord of the Rings 1978 and the controversial x-rated cartoon, Fritz the Cat 1972.) by the narrator and adult Tim (voiced by Tobey Maguire).

Seven-year-old Tim is an only child with a massive imagination. In his world, he plays a pirate or astronaut saving his doting Parents (voiced by Lisa Kudrow and Jimmy Kimmel) in a series of imagined life threatening scenarios, as kids do.

Every night his Parents tuck him up in bed, read him a story and sing his favourite song ‘Blackbird’. Yes, that Blackbird by messrs Lennon and McCartney, So when his Parents ask Tim if he would like a baby brother, he naturally says “No thanks.” Which is awkward as his Mum looks as though she is about to give birth.

The adult Tim reminisces about the day that the Boss Baby arrived. The first flashback shows the Parents coming through the front door carrying Tim’s new baby brother. Although, through seven-year-old Tim’s eyes he remembers the baby arriving by taxi, wearing a suit and tie, carrying a briefcase and talking on a mobile or cell phone as the Americans say.

Tim is suspicious about the new arrival and discovers that the baby can really talk and that he is plotting something big. With the parents just seeing a real little gurgling baby, naturally a war develops between Tim and the Boss Baby.

The Boss Baby confesses that he isn’t a real baby and when he was born he was sent to Baby Corp instead of a normal family and his mission is to infiltrate a strange company called PuppyCo. and stop the world from being overrun with cute little doggies than remain puppies forever and people will replace babies with the cute loveable animals.

Still with me so far?

A truce develops between young Tim and the baby to stop the evil PuppyCo, CEO, Francis Francis (voiced by Steve Buscemi) from going through with his evil plan, which involves an hilarious Las Vegas convention with of a troop of Elvis impersonators in an airport.

I must say that this film really took me by surprise. It was much funnier than expected and there were at least four laugh out loud moments, mostly from the Boss Baby / Alec Baldwin. Everything about the trailer shouts ‘kiddy film’ but it has very adult content. Look out for a lot of TV and Film references and especially the spoof talking ‘Gandalf’ alarm clock.

The film is loosely based on a series of books by Marla Frazee. But although this film has a definite plot as far as the Boss Baby is concerned, the actual storyline can be interpreted in different ways.

Is he a real baby but seen as a smart-Alec (pun intended) scheming Boss Baby by a jealous and insecure only child? Or is he really a man baby working for an infant company called Baby Corp?  

Another strange feature of this animated family film is that it has a deliberate timeless quality to it. Although the Boss Baby has a mobile phone (symbolising the management status) everyone else still has the old-fashioned cradle phones with the curly pigtail lead. Also, a group of parents take photos of the babies with old square ‘flash bulbs ‘on top of the cameras and when Tim tries to get proof that the baby is not what he seems by recording him speaking, he uses an old-fashioned push button tape recorder.

The Boss Baby is a Dreamworks production and directed by Tom McGrath, who was also responsible for directing Madagascar (2005) and the brilliant Megamind (2010). So, no stranger to setting up witty one-lines.

Worth a look. However, If you don’t have kids and can’t borrow one the chances are that you will have to wait until it comes out on DVD / Blu-ray.

In cinemas April 7.
Epsom Guardian:

Look out for The Boss Baby competition.