The Boss Baby

Year: 2017
Studio: Dreamworks
Director: Tom McGrath
Writer: Michael McCullers
Cast: Alec Baldwin, Miles Bakshi, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire

No, it's not the kind of thing I'd ever watch of my own accord, it was because I was keeping a little kid company and it was his choice. But there is a pretty inventive premise to it, even though the execution is the same tired family-first message every other family movie from the last half century has had.

Babies, the story claims, actually come from a corporation that exists in some spiritual netherworld, prepared and shipped to Earth where their memories are wiped and they start life completely fresh with families.

But one executive, Boss Baby (Alec Baldwin) is sent to pose as the new addition of the Templeton family to investigate the parents because they work for PuppyCo, a rival company that's developing a puppy that never grows up. BabyCorp, the company Boss Baby works for and which is responsible for placing babies in families, knows that eternally cute puppies will flood the market, babies supplanted as the cutest things ever.

But seven year old Timmy Templeton (Miles Bakshi, voiced by Tobey Maguire as a grown-up narrating his own story) never wanted a baby brother or sister to take his parents's energy and attention away, and when he sets about undoing the damage his new brother has done, he gets wise to Boss Baby's real identity and purpose – including figuring out why the latter wears a suit and carries a briefcase.

BabyCorp has figured out a spy in the family can find out the truth about PuppyCo's research and stop the project, especially because Timmy's parents are due to go to a convention in Las Vegas where the new puppy line will be launched.

Timmy and Boss Baby strike a truce and promise to help each other which will get them what they both want – Boss sent back to the great corner office in the sky and Timmy getting his exhausted parents back. Of course their working together will convince them they belong together like real family and prompt the entire after-climax twist.

But like the best examples of studio CG animation of the last 20 years or more since the Shrek and Pixar age, there are plenty of gags for grown-ups, particularly the jabs at American corporate culture. It's nothing you don't expect, but a few pleasant laughs make it worth watching if you have child to amuse.

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