Baldwin starring as a grown-up baby is weird and confusing

admin | 苏州桑拿
13 Jul 2019

Alec Baldwin and Miles Christopher Bakshi in The Boss Baby. Photo: DreamWorks Animation??????(G) 97 minutes
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It is hard to say which is the weirdest thing about The Boss Baby. Is it that Alec Baldwin was cast in the title role long before he rose to a new level of fame by playing Saturday Night Live’s edition of Donald Trump?

Or is it that following Nicholas Stoller’s??? Storks, this is the second animated children’s film of the past year that whimsically poses the question “where do babies come from?”

The answer in this instance is they come from BabyCorp, a mystical conglomerate staffed by thousands of talking infants in business suits (there’s a touch of authentic surrealism to this image – picture a live-action version and you have a scene straight from a wacky art movie such as Leos Carax’s??? Holy Motors).

These babies subsist on a special brand of formula that stops them ageing, and don’t deign to mix with adults. An exception is the Boss Baby himself, who allows himself to be born into an ordinary suburban family – one throwaway joke associates him with Jesus – as part of a spy mission against a dastardly plan to have puppies take over from babies as primary recipients of human love.

None of this makes a lick of sense – a fact that director Tom McGrath and writer Michael McCullers??? seem almost apologetic about, hinting that the story is unfolding in the mind of seven-year-old hero Tim, who resents the way his baby brother has turned their parents (Jimmy Kimmel??? and Lisa Kudrow???) into his slaves.

But it’s never entirely clear where reality begins and fantasy leaves off, and the confusion is only compounded by the voice-over narration from the adult Tim (Tobey Maguire) looking back on his 1970s childhood in the manner of The Wonder Years.

What is clear is that The Boss Baby is a concept that doesn’t work, whether it’s taken to be aimed at actual children or at the subgroup of adults who might get fleeting amusement from an allusion to Baldwin’s role in Glengarry Glen Ross.

Perhaps the problem is precisely the strain of trying to appeal to both audiences, which is more apparent than in most animated comedies of this ilk.

Family Guy has coasted on the premise of a baby who acts inappropriately adult for the best part of 20 years. But in a film for all ages, there’s a limit to just how inappropriate the Boss Baby can be.

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