“The Boss Baby: Family Business” stars Alec Baldwin, James Marsden, Jeff Goldblum, Ariana Greenblatt, Eva Longoria, Amy Sedaris, Jimmy Kimmel, and Lisa Kudrow. Released on July 2, 2021, the film has Tim and the Boss Baby reuniting to investigate Tim’s daughter’s school and its mysterious founder.
The film was directed by Tom McGrath, who is known for directing the “Madagascar” films and “Megamind”, and it is a sequel to the 2017 film “The Boss Baby”, which was also directed by McGrath. It feels good to be back in business. The folks at DreamWorks Animation are expanding another franchise for the kids, and it’s in the form of a suit-wearing infant. We’re going to need a bigger diaper bag. “The Boss Baby”, which was loosely based on Marla Frazee’s 2010 book, was something that I didn’t expect to do that well with audiences regarding its concept and mixed critical reception, but wound up proving me wrong. As a result of its box office success, the film spawned a franchise with a television series on Netflix and a full-length sequel that I will be looking at this Fourth of July weekend. Because Independence Day is more than just a bunch of fireworks and explosions. Its predecessor was one of the few films from DreamWorks that I didn’t revisit that often because of its generic story and hit-and-miss humor. It offered a few amusing moments that I enjoyed, such as its animation and Alec Baldwin’s vocal performance, but everything else made it inferior to the animation studio’s top-tier gems like “Shrek” and “How to Train Your Dragon”. Fortunately, I was willing to give this concept another chance to impress me. After all, the film’s director, Tom McGrath, managed to make the “Madagascar” sequels better than the original, so there’s a good chance that he’ll do the same with his “Boss Baby” sequel. Was it another suitable choice for families this weekend, or was it something that resembles a diaper full of poop? Let’s find out.
The story is set after the events of its predecessor, where Tim (Marsden) and his younger brother, former Boss Baby Ted (Baldwin), had gone their separate ways when they reached adulthood. While Ted works as a CEO, Tim is living his family life with his wife Carol (Longoria) and his two daughters Tabitha (Greenblatt) and Tina (Sedaris). When Ted visits the family, the reunion between brothers seems to be less heartfelt than expected. However, they must put aside their differences again to help Tina, who happens to be an undercover executive from BabyCorp. Tina is on a top-secret mission to investigate Tabitha’s school, which is helmed by Dr. Erwin Armstrong (Goldblum), a mysterious professor with a sinister plan. Their new mission will bring the brothers closer together and lead them to rediscover the importance of family. The first “Boss Baby” offered several elements that earned its way to the top: silliness, imagination, and heart. Despite its storytelling being as traditional as taking care of an actual baby, those things alone had enough appeal to distract the little ones while the adults enjoy their kid-free quality time. Unsurprisingly, its follow-up, “Family Business”, delivered more of the same, but of course, that all depends on how much you enjoyed its predecessor. If you like “The Boss Baby”, you’ll probably like the sequel as well. If not, then there’s nothing special in this diaper that will make you change your mind. Since I’m okay with the first film, I walked into the sequel not expecting anything more than just 100 minutes of baby jokes and cartoonish slapstick, and guess what? I wasn’t disappointed. When it comes to storytelling, it’s about as simplistic as a children’s storybook. It gets the point across for the young viewers, but it had a specific charm that allows some parents to grow attached to it. The plot also had some moments that attempt to recreate the same story beats from other films, primarily its predecessor, which had Tim and Ted feuding with each other until they made up to accomplish a common goal. There’s also a moment where Tim fears that his daughter Tabitha is growing up too fast, which was undeniably formulaic. Those moments in Michael McCullers’ script were pretty derivative and could cause viewers to get a strange case of deja vu. However, similar to the first film, it compensated with its frenetic sense of charisma and heart that’ll put a harmless smile on your face. I might even say that I enjoyed the sequel’s story a bit more than its predecessor, even though it’s still a far cry from the other animated gems from DreamWorks Animation. Part of that is due to its messages, which I thought were nicely executed and worth remembering. It still kept its core theme of siblinghood from the first film, but it also represented the importance of slowing things down and appreciating every moment you had in life, even at a young age. Whether you like the story or not, you can’t deny the significance of those messages. The characters from its predecessor still provide a sense of fun and likability due to its voice cast. Alec Baldwin as Ted was one of my favorite parts of the film, although I happened to enjoy his vocal performance in the first film better. James Marsden, who replaced Tobey Maguire and Miles Bakshi from “The Boss Baby”, served as a solid replacement for Tim. As for the new additions, they also managed to make the film watchable. Amy Sedaris delivered some funny moments as Tina, Ariana Greenblatt was charming as Tabitha, and Jeff Goldblum was irresistibly amusing as Dr. Erwin Armstrong despite his character being a one-note villain. The film’s animation once again continued DreamWorks Animation’s streak of providing some imaginative eye candy. Tim’s childlike imagination sequences and the film’s mild action scenes provided some impressive uses of lighting, detail, and creativity to capture the mind of a young child successfully. The humor itself was once again hit-and-miss for me. It had a couple of jokes in the film that got me giggling like a baby, but the rest of them couldn’t quite reach the clever standards of its predecessor. They were silly to listen to, I can give them that, but the amount of goofiness it had may not be enough to impress everyone.
Overall, “The Boss Baby: Family Business” welcomes audiences back for another round of foolish baby humor and simplistic storytelling. Like the first film, it’s a harmless and energetic cartoon that’s below the high standards set by the animation studio. While children and their parents will be entertained by its charming messages, voice cast, and animation, “Family Business” will force the detractors to rethink about having kids regarding its formulaic plot and average humor. I did find myself getting some enjoyment out of this one, but that’s pretty much it. It’s not great, and it’s not ear-gratingly terrible either. It’s a fine follow-up to a fine animated kids film that didn’t need a sequel in the first place. Unless you enjoy “The Boss Baby”, you might want to do your business elsewhere.
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