The Boss Baby

Movie review by
Betsy Bozdech, Common Sense Media
The Boss Baby Movie Poster Image
Animated comedy about sibling rivalry has peril, body humor.
  • PG
  • 2017
  • 97 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 35 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 56 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational value

Intended to educate, rather than entertain, though there are lessons about love and teamwork. On the other hand, it perpetuates an incorrect idea about where babies come from.

Positive messages

There's enough love for everyone in a family; it's not a fixed quantity that can run out -- the more you give, the more you get. Working together toward a common purpose can pay off -- and you might even find yourself growing to like someone you never thought you could. Imagination plays an important role in childhood. On the downside, puppies are looked at/treated as products, rather than animals with needs and feelings, and the world of business is portrayed as pretty competitive/cutthroat.

Positive role models & representations

Both Tim and Boss Baby do and say many mean things to each other, but eventually they learn to work together and appreciate each other. Boss Baby has trouble with expressing/understanding feelings and frequently throws money at problems to solve them. Tim's parents are loving but fairly clueless, in the vein of many cartoon moms and dads. Bad guys are manipulative and evil but are clearly intended to be villains. Main cast isn't diverse, but the hordes of babies at BabyCorp HQ are much more multicultural. Some stereotyping (a larger baby is fixated on eating cookies; Tim is mocked for his "girly" middle name, Leslie; etc.).

Violence & scariness

Peril and chases, plus sequences in which Tim's imagination conjures up everything from attacking animals (gorilla, shark, etc.) to spooky hallways and looming, evil figures. Tim goes up against a gang of babies; Nerf-like dart guns are fired, a baby is hurled through a window, a beloved stuffed animal is threatened (and ultimately beheaded). The brothers investigate a dark, creepy room, get captured, and are then "looked after" by a thug dressed up as a nanny, who ends up pursuing them during an epic chase. Tim's parents are in danger. Arguments, primarily between Tim and Boss Baby (they also slap/hit each other a few times); Tim sometimes feels ignored and unloved by his parents.

Sexy stuff

Bare baby bottoms seen a few times; a dog sniffs Boss Baby's bottom when he's in his puppy costume. The boys hitch a ride with the ladies in a bachelorette party, who wear fairly skimpy dresses.

Language

Infrequent potty language ("fart," "poop," "doody," "toot"), plus "freaky," "suck it," "heck," and insults like "brat," "muscle head," "you went to community college," and "big fat baby" (though that's also a coveted title at BabyCorp.). A fake breakfast cereal is called "Cluster Puft." Humor related to sneezing, throwing up, etc.

Consumerism

No real products in the movie, but there are merchandising tie-ins in real life.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Champagne is served in first class when the boys fly to Las Vegas. Tim references having tried a Long Island Ice Tea (he doesn't like it). Boss Baby must drink a special formula to retain his "management" status.

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).

User Reviews

Parent of a 8, 9, and 10 year old Written byMonique G. March 31, 2017

Funny but more adult humor

I thought there were very inappropriate jokes. I would compare it to watching family guy or American dad with your kids.
Educator and Parent Written byNikita L. April 2, 2017

Surprisingly I liked this movie

I went in thinking it would be bad (based on reviews). I found it charming. I loved how it focused on kids imaginations. The puppy thing--really? People are so...
Kid, 10 years old March 23, 2017

BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!

No point in it. The plots good, but I don't like it. Appropriate for kids, but I don't like how they made the baby's voice be a man's voice...
Teen, 13 years old Written bykhd_jaa March 23, 2017

khDJAA

IS REALLY GOOD

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?

  • How do Tim and Boss Baby show the value of teamwork? Why is that an important character strength? What do they learn from each other?

  • 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?

Movie details

Character Strengths

See which skills this movie can help your kid develop.

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love their siblings

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