From the moment I saw the first trailer for Dreamworks’ The Boss Baby drop, I was sure it was going to be a bit of a stinker.
Truth be told, I was hoping that it’d fall on a week that had a few other more promising releases.
But, to my surprise, it is nowhere near as bad as the promotional material you will have struggled to miss – and is actually a pretty good laugh throughout.
Directed by Tom McGrath of Madagascar and Megamind fame, The Boss Baby focuses on the story of seven-year-old Tim (voiced by Miles Bakshi), who lives the perfect life as an only child.
He enjoys the full attention of his mum (Lisa Kudrow) and dad (Jimmy Kimmel), while also having an overactive imagination that makes even the most mundane of activities seem like an exciting adventure.
So, when his obviously pregnant mother asks Tim if he’d like a younger brother or sister, his emphatic answer is: “No! I’m enough.”
Enter The Boss Baby, Tim’s newborn baby brother.
Voiced superbly – if not rather unusually – by Alec Baldwin, The Boss Baby is not only Tim’s little brother, but a business mastermind sent down from heaven by his company “Babycorp.”
He arrives in a taxi and is dressed in a suit, which nobody other than Tim seems to find odd. He’s been sent down by his bosses to complete a mission for them and, as a reward, will be promoted to his own corner office upon completion.
The mission, which is ridiculous, is to stop a perceived swing in parents wanting pets over babies – and puts The Boss Baby on a collision course with Francis Francis, the rival CEO of Puppycorp (voiced by Steve Buscemi).
However, he soon realises that he needs Tim on-side if he is to achieve is goal.
The only problem with that is that Tim is very much onto him – and wants nothing more than to regain the full attention of his parents.
Let’s get the obvious problems out of the way first; the plot in The Boss Baby is terrible and makes no sense at all – especially the Puppycorp angle, which is actually quite sinister when you give it some thought.
It also feels very padded out and, even at just 97 minutes, felt like it went on too long.
Saying that, Baldwin’s turn as The Boss Baby is pretty impressive. There was something funny about seeing a baby played by an adult, especially in some of the action sequences.
There is a stand-out scene in Tim’s back garden which really steals the show and looked great on the big screen.
At its core, The Boss Baby is about Tim discovering that his parents simply can’t give him all of their attention and that having a sibling doesn’t have to be the worst thing in his world.
Aside from Baldwin’s very funny voicing, it’s that growing relationship between the two brothers which helps Dreamworks’ latest offering succeed on some level.
Sadly, the bizarre Puppycorp angle does stop The Boss Baby in its tracks.
Although the voice talents of Buscemi are always going to be welcome, that storyline come across as a little odd – and certainly not funny or interesting. But, if you can see past that, there’s a heart-warming story here that is largely enjoyable.
Vitally, there’s something for parents and children too, just don’t expect a classic.
Voice Verdict: 6.5/10 (reviewed at Boston’s West End Cinema)
Boston’s West End Cinema (Fri, April 14 to Thurs, April 20)
**FAST AND FURIOUS 8 (12A)
11am (Fri-Mon), 2pm (daily), 5.15pm (daily), 7pm (not Thurs), 8.30pm (daily)
GOING IN STYLE (12A)
4.15pm (not Sun), 6.30pm (daily)
PEPPA PIG: MY FIRST CINEMA EXPERIENCE (U)
10am (Fri-Mon), Noon (Fri-Wed), 2pm (daily)
THE BOSS BABY (U)
2D – 10am (Fri-Mon), 2.40pm (daily), 4pm (daily), 8.15pm (not Sun/Wed)
3D – 12.20pm (Fri-Wed), 6pm (daily)
SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE (U)
2D – 10am (Fri/Sun/Mon), Noon (Sat-Mon), 2.10pm (not Sun)
GHOST IN THE SHELL (12A)
2D – 8.45pm (daily)
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (PG)
2D – 2pm (Wed), 2.15pm (not Wed), 4.45pm (Wed), 5.20pm (not Tues/Wed), 8.10pm (daily)
Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon 10.15am – Lego Batman 2D (U)
Wed 11.30am – Beauty and the Beast 2D (PG)
Tuesday 5.30pm – Fast and Furious 8 (12A)
**DENOTES FREE LIST SUSPENDED