Y’all. I went to go see this movie because I could NOT figure out what the teaser of the conceptual plot even revolved around in the trailer. It’s a baby and he’s a boss? I don’t understand. So I paid my nine dollars like every other child in Kenner today to find out. And WOW.
So, first of all, this movie looked like one of the fake ones Adam Sandler did after he sold out on Funny People. You know the one where he’s a little merman that can talk? When I saw that I was like, “Do they really make movies like that?” They do, and apparently I am the type of person who goes to see them.
This movie never ends up making sense. It has all the pieces of a movie that makes sense: conflict that turns into personal growth through adversity, lessons learned, visual and thematic callbacks, character archs, opposing desires that come to a head, opposing characters joining forces, pirates, famous people doing voices, etc. etc. But it’s like when I saw Blue Velvet for the first time. You’re not gonna get anywhere by focusing on why there’s an ear on the ground. You just need to accept that now you’re in a world where there are ears on the ground. It’s almost exactly like that.
Basic plot: there is a child (Tim, voiced by Tobey Maguire, yes it’s weird) who loves his parents (no names, Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow, less weird) and he loves playing with them all the time (he’s still very young). We open on a scene in the Congo with a white man beating up a gorilla and a narrator saying, “There’s always someone who wants to take what you have” and I was like, Does Dreamworks understand irony?? But I don’t think they do. It ends up being the kid and his dad (his imagination is like a character in the movie!) and they are playing. His parents play with him all day, when they’re not working at their job at the pet company, “Puppy Co.”
Oh also lol, before this movie there was a preview for a movie that started out “Two orphans have a dream” that was very odd and uncomfortable seeming. But, back to this.
So, it’s a wonderful life, then a baby in a suit comes in a taxi. Tim sees him pull up in a taxi with a briefcase and little leg suspenders (what are those called? To hold your socks up when people cared?). Then the parents present the baby like they gave birth to it and Tim is suspicious and hates it. That happens for like a week then there’s one night where he hears a telephone ringing outside of the home line. He goes to the baby’s room and finds him on a conference call and ambushes him. The baby (Alec Baldwin) has a speech that’s supposed to be a big breakdown but nothing actually gets explained. We just know now he’s on a mission that has to do with the parents and getting information. And he likes sushi and throwing money.
The opening credits scene was all these babies on an assembly line getting diapers and pacifiers and powder-puffed butts, then when they get to the end most go down a chute labeled “Family” and others go down one named “Management.” Which, initially without any context is hilarious. But then like 30 min into the movie when you still have no clue, it’s like, “We get that it’s cute that he’s wearing a tie but is there ANY semblance of thought someone put into this?” I think the answer is kind of no.
The haphazard explanation we get way later is that there is just a baby management world where babies drink a special formula to stay young forever and control…they never really get to that part. All things baby? Who knows. But in the middle of their cubicles (this could also be read as the most depressingly capitalist piece of art in the entire world where someone in their wildest imagination only could dream of integrating work and productivity into life earlier) there’s this big screen that has a pie chart breakdown of all the love in the world (because there’s a finite amount!) and it only goes to like 5 things and all of them are young things (babies, puppies, birds, goldfish, Lisa Rinna after her first marriage) and puppies have most of the love.
That ends up being the mission. The Puppy Co. is debuting a new type of puppy that stays young forever, so no one will love babies anymore. (Ears on the ground! Ears on the ground!) The Boss Baby was sent to find out about the puppy and alert the other baby managers so they could…? They never really had a plan, they didn’t get that far. Tim hates the baby and wants him gone. The baby explains that if he completes his mission he leaves the family and Tim can have his parents to himself again. If he FAILS they leave him with the family and stop sending him the special formula that keeps him young forever and he just grows up and stays with the family as a normal baby. So Tim decides to help him, so the baby will leave his family forever. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!
They go to Las Vegas because that’s where you go to unveil a new puppy type, duh. Tim & Boss Baby are on a plane of only Elvis impersonators (*huffing unidentified gas from tank*-I am just realizing that if you haven’t seen Blue Velvet this review is going to make NO sense) and they make it to the puppy convention. They try to find the secret file and run into Francis Francis (Steve Buscemi) who is the head of the Puppy Corporation and the Babies’ rival. Come to find out he USED to be one of the Big Boss Babies in Baby Management but they kicked him out because he was lactose intolerant. Everything I’m saying is in the movie and true.
All this rigamarole happens with the puppies and a rocket and the formula and Tim’s parents getting locked in a huge stage heart and symbolic pirates and a crossdressing body guard brother, it’s a lot. Eventually Tim saves his parents, rescues Boss Baby from his own mind, thwarts Francis Francis (who is turned back into a baby somehow) and they all go back home. Boss Baby takes a cab to get his “promotion” in baby management heaven or wherever and the parent’s memories are erased. But Boss Baby and Tim miss each other and Tim sends a letter in crayon to the sky and Boss Baby gets it and comes back to live with the family and they grow up then they tell the story to Tim’s daughter in the hospital while her little sister is being born. Then the little sister wakes up and is wearing a business suit and winks. END OF MOVIE.
????? Normally I have some reaction or opinion on a movie but this one was just barely a cohesive mental experience, I don’t even think I have any reactions. My friend Anthony and I were the only ones in the theatre without kids and I think they were confused too. After one part a kid yelled out, “How are they doing this?” and it was like hearing rain in the desert.
It’s just such an odd concept with almost no logical mooring, and nothing else substantial about it. I think it’ll become a cult classic and film dudes in college will take shots every time Alec Baldwin sighs or takes a pager out of his diaper or something. Truly odd, certainly the David Lynch of animated movies. Just missing Laura Dern!! Get her in there! Anyway.
1 out of 5 abacus beads that represent emotional resources, would not masturbate again.