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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Boss Baby is an animated comedy inspired by Marla Frazee's popular picture book. It addresses issues related to sibling rivalry (particularly an older child's fears that there will be less love after a new baby arrives) and has a fair bit of peril, though much of it is played for laughs. Expect chases, nick-of-time escapes, and plenty of slapstick confrontations between babies and children/adults. There are also potentially scary scenes imagined by 7-year-old Tim (attacking animals, creepy hallways, looming figures) and a sequence in which two kids investigate a mysterious dark room and subsequently get captured. Not surprisingly for a film about babies, there's also plenty of body/potty humor, including an explosive fake-barf sequence, bare baby bottoms, and use of words like "fart," "poop," and "doody." Other language includes some insults, and there's a scene in which it's implied that Tim tried a Long Island Ice Tea and didn't like it (champagne is also served in first class). The way the movie treats puppies -- like a factory-produced product -- may bother some viewers, and the fact that the boys travel to Las Vegas on their own may need some explaining ... as will the movie's take on where babies come from. But there are clear messages about the value of teamwork and the fact that there is enough love for everyone in a family. And parents who loved Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock will surely laugh (Boss Baby is basically a mini Jack Donaghy).
What's the story?
Seven-year-old Tim (voiced by Miles Christopher Bakshi) loves the life he has with his parents (Lisa Kudrow and Jimmy Kimmel): They laugh and play together all the time, and there's always time for Tim's special bedtime routine -- stories, songs, and all. He has no interest in a sibling, but that doesn't stop the arrival of THE BOSS BABY (Alec Baldwin), a suit-wearing, briefcase-toting mini-manager who arrives on the scene and proceeds to turn Tim's household upside down. Tim's parents don't seem to notice anything unusual going on (they're too shell-shocked and sleep-deprived to notice much of anything), but Tim quickly realizes that this is no ordinary infant. It turns out that Boss Baby is on a special assignment from BabyCorp HQ to do a little corporate espionage related to Tim's parents' place of employment: Puppy Co. It seems that more people are adopting puppies than having babies, and that has BabyCorp nervous. If Boss Baby can find out what Puppy Co. has planned -- and stop it -- the corner office will be his. But he'll need Tim's help to carry out his mission, and Tim isn't exactly motivated by profits and promotions.
Is it any good?
Considering that it's based on a cute but pretty story-lite picture book, this animated comedy exceeds expectations -- especially if you're a fan of Baldwin's work on 30 Rock. His character in The Boss Baby is pretty much a miniature Jack Donaghy; Boss Baby throws money at problems, dismisses someone as a "hippie," and, when asked to deliver a cutting insult, comes up with "you went to community college!" (There's also an in-joke reference to Baldwin's cutthroat-businessman role in Glengarry Glen Ross that may make some parents smile.) And the script in general is pretty witty, with clever lines and unexpected twists. Tim's Gandalf-like talking-wizard alarm clock, "Wizzie," is funny, as is a sequence in which Boss Baby tries to encourage Tim to ride his bike by rattling off lines from motivational posters.
The movie is sure to give families with siblings a way to talk about the challenges of being an older brother or sister -- with the nice reassurance that there's always enough love to go around. And Tim and Boss Baby do learn to work together; their eventual affection for each other is sweet. That said, the puppy mill-esque portrayal of Puppy Co. is sure to irk dog lovers, and Tim's parents are clueless even by cartoon-parent standards. But if you can overlook those issues -- and you don't mind some pretty epic barf scenes -- The Boss Baby is a fun, if not instant-classic, movie that parents and kids can enjoy together.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what The Boss Baby is saying about new babies/siblings. Why is it natural for older kids to be worried about what will happen when a new baby arrives? Is it true that there's always enough love to go around? What can parents do to reassure older kids?
Which parts of the movie did you find scary? Why? How much scary stuff can young kids handle?
Do you think that everything in the movie really happened, or was it all in Tim's imagination? What makes you think that?
How are Tim's mom and dad portrayed? How do they compare to real-life parents? Is it OK for movie parents to be less responsible/aware than real moms and dads? Why or why not?
- In theaters: March 31, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: July 25, 2017
- Cast: Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Lisa Kudrow
- Director: Tom McGrath
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book characters, Brothers and sisters
- Character strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild rude humor
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.