The most interesting thing about The Boss Baby: Family Business is its existence. The film was a direct sequel to “The Boss Baby”. Based on the image of the same name by Marla Frasy. From 2017 when Alec Baldwin was the main character. A premature baby like an executive working for “BabyCorp”. An undercover organization, talk about threats to babies that are monitored around the world.
The catch is that Boss Baby acts like an adult when adults aren’t watching:
A fact that pushes his seven-year-old brother Tim (Miles Bakshi) up a wall. The room was hilarious for about 10 minutes, which it honestly should be. A powerful short film that borrows the surrealism of its basic concept before the fun ends.
That said, we have The Boss Baby: Family Business (not to mention the entire Netflix series about Ted’s exploits on BabyCorp). This time, we see Ted (Baldwin) and Tim (James Marsden) as middle-aged men negotiating a common middle-aged situation.
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Ted, once a corporate ninja, has almost no time for himself, much less his brother. Tim, the father of eight-year-old Tabitha and baby Tina. And worries his older daughter is growing too fast and is surprisingly mature, like Ted years ago.
The transition begins when Tina (voiced by Amy Sedaris. Who also voiced the inimitable Princess Caroline on the Netflix series BoJack Horseman) reveals herself to be the next boss baby in the family; Another wise, fragile, premature baby with the gift of stupidity. And he needs his uncle Ted’s help with the missions assigned to him by BabyCorp; investigates fraud school director Erwin Armstrong (Jeff Goldblum). Who turns out to be a baby in disguise to rid the world of all adults.
In the end, parents are just “strangers”, big or small:
This is the narrative that rocked The Boss Baby: Family Business. When Tina returns to BabyCorp after years with Ted, she excitedly tells him. Until you’re the last baby at the top! Still Gen-Z Boss Baby, Tina replied: “In fact, I value a healthy work-life balance. And a positive environment where my ideas are valued.”
It’s an unexpectedly satirical moment (actually one of many in the film): it shows that the whole talk of “work-life balance” has been diverted from the company’s interests. This “balance,” propagated and reinforced by popular culture, is meant to benefit your boss. It has become a more complex version of the “teamwork exercise” that HR departments everywhere value. This puts the burden of persistent and breathless productivity back on the individual. While strategically, nothing is said about working conditions that create “unbalance”.
There’s humour about baby food and the occasional bedwetting joke – only one funny when Tina told Uncle Ted that her “magic potion” that turns any adult into a baby in 48 hours could have “some side effects”. Cut the bottle labels that essentially eliminate early childhood “symptoms”: mood swings, diapers filled with dirt, and severe attachment problems.
The vocal cast does a decent job for the most part:
With Baldwin and Marsden doing well as adults this time around (Marsden replaced Toby Maguire, who voiced the older Tim in the first film). Goldblum happily rages in a role that lies right down his alley, alternating evil and whimsical. But the brilliantly reliable Sedaris steals the show as Tina, the new boss’ baby.
Sedaris’ powerful, malleable sound provides an added advantage over production vulnerabilities. Her character, BoJack Horseman’s Princess Caroline, is a complete idea of how the corporate world can chew and spit on women – Carolyn isn’t weak, and she resists amazingly throughout the show. But what price the show is asking us. Tina sometimes feels like a younger, less burdened version of Princess Carolyn. But it’s a children’s film at the end of the day.
The Boss Baby: Family Business is a predictable all-in-one fare that doesn’t exceed the urge for a light laugh. But if you’re a natural parent of a baby (early or not), you know that predictable movies often take an hour.