By Evan Penrod and Salena Moran | Staff Writers
Dreamworks’ newest animated comedy “Boss Baby” proves to be just as much of an embarrassment to watch as asking to purchase the tickets. The generic and sloppy animation, the overused humor and plot setup resulted in a theater full of bored, distracted and unamused adults and children.
In the film, imaginative 7-year-old Timothy Templeton (Miles Christopher Bakshi with future narration by Tobey Maguire) relishes his life as an only child. When Timothy’s parents (Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow) decide to welcome the Boss Baby (Alec Baldwin) into their family, Timothy suspects something peculiar, as the baby acts and dresses far different from the typical infant. In a struggle for their parents’ attention, the two must set aside their sibling rivalry to partner up and help the Boss Baby complete a secret mission that entails a bizarre conflict between both puppies and babies.
This film reincarnates the overused, cliché storyline where two different, conflicting characters team up to defeat a villain of sorts and in the end, realize they are the best of friends. “Toy Story,” “Secret Life of Pets” and even “The Breakfast Club” all utilize this predictable structure. However, Boss Baby’s plot may simply be Timothy’s imagination running wild in an attempt to grasp the idea of welcoming a new family member and sharing time with their parents. While this concept does not improve the movie as a whole, it calls to light a better family and coming of age metaphor representing a larger take-away from the film. In a way, this interpretational aspect of the film’s ending is perhaps the film’s only bright spot among its poorly written and atrociously executed jokes.
Moreover, the film suffers from extremely ridiculous scenarios and major plot holes. For example, in the film’s attempt to answer the question where do babies come from, audiences capture a glance of Timothy’s mother’s pregnant stomach but later see the baby show up at the Templetons’ doorstep having come from a factory in the sky. Why would she be pregnant if she does not give birth?
Furthermore, the Boss Baby’s company, Baby Corp, discovers that puppies begin to quickly replace babies in the cuteness factor. If the puppies beat out the desire for babies, then humans will cease to welcome babies into their households (kind of like a genocide on babies). Sure, on the surface it resembles a harmless plot, but the major flaw lies in the fate of the human population when the lack of children threatens the future of society.
While one should take fiction and storytelling with a grain of salt, the plot, if one should even call it that, jumbles together different ideas that lead nowhere with questions left unanswered. While a film’s plot does not have to explain everything perfectly, audiences should not have to waste their time asking questions or trying to follow along with scenes that lack transitional flow.
This movie also displays some sort of strange obsession with naked babies and butts in particular. Several close up shots featuring jiggling baby bottoms prove unnerving and uncomfortable. Moreover, both Timothy and the Boss Baby have an odd sequence of viciously sucking on binkies while staring each other down. Many moments like this sequence throughout the film feel inadvertently creepy and cringe-worthy.
With a budget of $125 million, one would expect some real effort and work to go into the creation and animation of this picture. However, the characters feature extremely generic designs and do not indicate the high-tech, detailed animation commonly seen in recent films. Perhaps the money went toward the voice actors because it appears Alec Baldwin was a little short on cash.
The animation style appears decent enough upon first glance, however some scenes resonate better than others. For instance, as a highly imaginative child, Timothy often pictures himself on adventures in extravagant locations. The color scheme used in these imagination sequences reveal an abstract compilation of neons and brightly saturated hues. This color palette mismatches against the appearance of the rest of the movie.
This movie, overall, appropriately resembles a big, dirty diaper. It may come off as an innocent little thing from far away, but upon further inspection, looks horrible and reeks. A change in children/ family entertainment better ensue soon, as even a film as wretched as this earned more money in its opening weekend than the highly anticipated “Beauty and the Beast” remake.
Children’s movies should not simply provide mindless entertainment to occupy time. Animated films like “Coraline,” “Kubo and the Two Strings,” “How to Train your Dragon” and “Spirited Away” attempt to teach children lessons that extend far beyond pretty animation and bathroom jokes. Animators and story writers should raise the bar in making children’s media actually meaningful and thoughtful forms of entertainment.