Playtime is over.
The Boss Baby: Family Business is a 2021 animated fantasy comedy film directed by Tom McGrath, written by Michael McCullers, produced by DreamWorks Animation, and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film is loosely based on Marla Frazee's 2010 picture book, The Boss Baby. It stars James Marsden and Alec Baldwin. It was not nominated for any Academy Awards. This is the second installment in the Boss Baby franchise. It was preceded by The Boss Baby. A third Boss Baby film is confirmed.
"Once you grow up, you can never come back." -Tim Templeton
40 years after the events of The Boss Baby, Tim Templeton is fully grown and has started a family of his own. He has grown apart from his baby brother, Ted, and started a life as a stay-at-home dad. When a new baby arrives from BabyCorp, Tim and Ted are reunited to stop a dangerous threat from ridding the world of parenting.
Comedy / Family and Heartfelt Side / Voice Acting / Animation / Expansion of the Boss Baby World / Tone and Strangely Dark Story / Jeff Goldblum and the Villain / Being Derivative of Incredibles 2 / Too Much Going On / Somewhat Generic Scenes
Easily, the thing that surprised me most about The Boss Baby: Family Business was the comedy. I was ten when the first film came out, which meant I was the target audience and had a lot of fun with it. I'm now fifteen, so I've grown out of these types of movies. But I laughed a good amount at this film. I feel like most animated comedy movies that aren't Disney or Pixar usually go for fart jokes and slapstick humor to get smaller kids to laugh. I didn't see a lot of those in the movie. There was some well timed comedy from the characters that got a good amount of laughs out of me.
The film is also really sweet. It deals a lot with family and growing up, and I thought that the movie worked best when it was focused on that aspect. There were times where it did stir up some emotion, and that surprised me. A lot. I didn't expect that at all from a movie like this.
I really enjoyed the voice actors, with one exception that I will mention in the negatives. I really had fun with Alec Baldwin in the first film, and he's just as good in this movie. The replacement of the kid actor with James Marsden makes for a much more charming and likable Tim then in the first movie. And I really had fun with Amy Sedaris as the new Boss Baby. She was really funny. I hate her in The Mandalorian, but she was great as a voice actress.
I don't know why, but I've always thought that DreamWorks doesn't get enough credit for their animation style. It's a little more cartoony than Disney and Pixar, but it's also less cartoony than Illumination. I think that that is the perfect balance, so I just thought I'd mention that here.
The film also builds upon the foundation of the first movie. It expands the world of the babies and BabyCorp, with some new technology and fun character introductions. I liked the fantastical side of the first Boss Baby, and there's a lot more of that in this film. It makes this world memorable and fun to explore, which I really had fun with.
As I said before, this movie, while maybe a little less immature than the first one, is targeting younger audiences, meaning I am not the target audience. But the story and underlying tone of the movie is actually incredibly dark. The villain's plan, which I won't spoil, seems like something out of a much darker, much more mature movie. There are also cartoonishly evil characters whose motivations are not justified.
Specifically the villain. I hated almost everything about this character. I love Jeff Goldblum, but he was one hundred percent miscast. He does not fit this role...at all. His usual sarcastic humor and drawling voice does not work with what we know about this character. I've never seen (or heard) Goldblum try so hard to be menacing. He is a great actor, but his roles have to be tailored specifically for him. When he's cast well, he's perfect. When he's not, it's a disaster.
And, again, with the villain, his plan and half-baked motives feel almost exactly like the Screenslaver in Incredibles 2. There are images that seem like they are taken from Incredibles 2 and plopped straight into The Boss Baby: Family Business. I really wish that the family stuff took up the focus a little bit more than the main plot that they decided to go with.
This movie is also very overstuffed. They throw a lot at the screen. Robots? Check. Frankenstein Baby? Check. Shrinking Potion and Magic? Check. New Boss Baby? Check. Two main plot lines? Check. And that's just the beginning. You can feel the weight of everything going on near the end of the film when all the plot lines are resolved. Some of them are rushed and some of them are given good endings. But, hey, that's what happens when you bite off more than you can chew.
Finally, there are definitely some scenes that are quite cliché, especially the one involving the giant snowball. There's a lot of last-minute saves and barely hiding from someone that's trying to come in and find you. This also leads to the film being relatively predictable, so there's that.
Analogy and Final Score
For me, The Boss Baby: Family Business is like apple juice. I used to drink apple juice all the time, but as I got older, I stopped drinking it. When I have it, I still enjoy it, but it's not as exciting or as good as it was when I was younger. It does feel like this specific cup of apple juice was taken from another restaurant and maybe even spiked a little bit, but not enough to really have the drinker notice it.
I will give The Boss Baby: Family Business a Savory. Age range is 4+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good)
"The Boss Baby: Family Business"
Fun Factor: 7.5/10
Directed by Tom McGrath
Rated PG for rude humor, mild language, animated violence and action
Released on July 2, 2021
1 hour and 47 minutes
James Marsden as Tim Templeton
Alec Baldwin as Ted Templeton
Amy Sedaris as Tina Templeton
Ariana Greenblatt as Tabitha Templeton
Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Erwin Armstrong
Eva Longoria as Carol Templeton
James McGrath as Wizzie
Lisa Kudrow as Janice Templeton
Jimmy Kimmel as Ted Templeton, Sr.