Saturday, 8 April 2017

Film Review: "The Boss Baby" (2017).

"Born Leader"
and "He's the Boss" perfectly describe The Boss Baby. This computer-animated comedy film directed by Tom McGrath, adapted by Michael McCullers, loosely based on the 2010 picture book of the same name written and illustrated by Marla Frazee, and produced by DreamWorks Animation. The arrival of a new baby impacts wildly imaginative seven year old Tim Templeton and his family. But the baby just happens to be a secret agent in the secret war between babies and puppies.

In mid June 2014, DreamWorks Animation announced plans to release their 34th animated feature film on a March 18th, 2016 release date, with Madagascar series (2005, 08, 12) and Megamind (2010) director Tom McGrath hired to direct with a script penned by Michael McCullers. By June 2016, Alec Baldwin, Miles Christopher Bakshi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Kevin Spacey and Patton Oswalt were announced to have joined the film. But Spacey and Oswalt were ultimately replaced by Steve Buscemi and Tobey Maguire. The film marks Baldwin's third animated film for DreamWorks after Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Rise of the Guardians (2012), and his second collaboration with Maguire after Cats & Dogs (2001). In December 2014, it was announced that the film had been removed from DreamWorks' schedule and was replaced with Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016), with a new release date yet to be announced. In January 2015, the film was given a new release date of January 13th, 2017, only to be pushed back further to a March 10th, 2017 release date in September 2015, taking over the original Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) release date, and finally pushed back to its March 31st, 2017 release date.

The film stars the voices of Baldwin, Bakshi, Buscemi, Kimmel, Kudrow and Maguire. The cast gave terrific and entertaining performances. Baldwin gave an entertaining performance, even though his demeanour was more gangster, at times, rather than corporate agent. Bakshi gave a boyish performance that perfectly captured the spirit of a seven year old and their attitude towards having a younger sibling. There's a nice, snappy playfulness in the rapport between Baldwin and engaging newcomer Bakshi. That lively, sibling rivalry vibe is very reminiscent to Woody and Buzz's relationship in Toy Story. Buscemi gave a fine performance despite being somewhat of a retread of his previous roles of a similar nature. Kimmel and Kudrow made a nice pair as the parents. Finally, Maguire did the best he could despite being relegated to a less-than-impressive narrator role.

Colourful animation and a charming cast helped The Boss Baby achieve success, but scattershot gags and a confused, hyperactively unspooled plot kept it from truly achieving its mission. Whoever now is running DreamWorks Animation appears to be allowing the studio to steer off-course, and that has resulted in a film that is preposterous and wasn't quite sure what it wanted to be. The film started off well enough and delivered a few laughs along the way, but in the end it didn't quite live up to its studio's legacy.

Simon says The Boss Baby receives:

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