The Boss Baby

 

            “The Boss Baby” is one of those movies that gives away its own plot in the trailer.  A 7-year-old kid is perfectly happy, being Mom and Dad's one-and-only.  Then baby brother arrives, and everybody has a hard time adjusting.  It's not just that the baby brother is demanding, he's even calls himself “The Boss”.  Like the old “Toy Story” trick of the toys talking only when the adults aren't around, so “Boss Baby” doesn't talk when the parents are around, either.  But Big Brother Tim (the voice of Miles Christopher Bakshi) catches him on the phone one day, and Boss Baby (the voice of Alec Baldwin) admits that OK, he can talk, he's actually an adult who's taking a special formula to allow him to maintain his, um, youthful appearance (a bit of Hollywood ironical polemic there).

            For an animated film, the plot is a bit convoluted, and needn't be detailed here, except it's something about the folks at the baby factory competing with their rivals at the puppy farm for a bigger slice of the family pie.  Anyway, Boss Baby is actually trying to work himself out of the house, and once Tim realizes that, they form an uneasy partnership for the sake of appearances.

            Of course we all know what's going to happen:  they develop an affection for each other despite themselves, and learn to expand their ideas of what “family” is all about.  Yes, that's a pretty clear moral, despite the muddled storyline.  But even in animation, the sight gags are clearly for fun, and Dreamworks remembers to insert the cute and fanciful, especially during Tim's playful imaginings.  Even the credits at the end are charming, backed by a re-make of the old Burt Bacharach/Hal David tune, “What The World Needs Now Is Love.”  Who would disagree with that?

 

Questions for Discussion:

1)                  What's your personal experience with sibling rivalries?  How have those relationships evolved?

2)                  What's your observation about some other sibling rivalries you have witnessed?

3)                  As a parent, how have you tried to address sibling rivalry under your roof?

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association