Back for a new mission – The Gisborne Herald

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Posted on September 30, 2021 at 3:12 p.m.

by Jake Coyle, AP screenwriter

Too bad for the children’s film that follows the Pixar act.

The Walt Disney Co animation studio has long been a standard bearer that can be hard to match. But even knowing the inevitable downfall to come, The Boss Baby: Family Business is a bit of a drop of the splendid and shimmering Luca.

Dreamworks’ sequel to Oscar-nominated 2017 The Boss Baby once again pushes a simple, funny, but difficult-to-craft image – a baby in a costume – to wacky extremes.

It was a pretty good idea for Marla Frazee’s original children’s book; toddlers can indeed be tyrants. But every movie has hyperactively swaddled that thin premise with a frenzied, over-plotted, quirky cartoon blitz.

Director Tom McGrath (The Madagascan Films) returns for The Boss Baby: Family Business, and is rapidly advancing into adulthood.

Older brother Tim (James Marsden, succeeding Tobey Maguire) has become a stay-at-home dad married to powerful Carol (Eva Longoria), with their science-obsessed and high-performing daughter Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) and little Tina

(Amy Sédaris).

Boss Baby Ted (Alec Baldwin) naturally turned into CEO of hedge funds.

The brothers moved away from each other, all the while keeping Ted’s secret that he was an agent of Baby Corp, a conglomerate that makes infant formula that gives adults intelligence.

The film opens with Tim bemoaning that childhood comes only once, but Boss Baby is a totem pole of the truism that adults and children aren’t really that different and are sometimes even interchangeable.

Tina also turns out to be a Baby Corp agent, and she summons Tim and Ted into the conglomerate on a new assignment – shrinking back to their age in the last movie to go undercover and investigate Principal Dr. Armstrong (Jeff Goldblum , phantasmagorically clownish) from Tabitha’s school.

Dr. Armstrong is preparing a baby revolution that is utterly absurd but not without merit.

The school competition, which Tabitha is eagerly preparing for, puts climate change squarely at the feet of an older generation.

In a bit reminiscent of the equally colorful The Mitchells vs the Machines, Dr. Armstrong’s plot feeds on parents’ addiction to smartphones. Young people, of course, have good reason to believe that they could do better with the world.

The plot is so crazy, with running gags thrown along the way, that Family Business feels designed to make giddy parents argue for their little movie companions’ plot pointers.

It’s a manic movie in a familiarly corporate way that gives kids a computer-generated candy race.

The film’s own business imperatives sometimes shine through as a leaky layer.

But I’ll say Boss Baby is growing up with you a bit.

There’s a dazzling animated scene shared between Tim and his kid-sized daughter Tabitha about creativity and being yourself tuned to If You Wanna Sing Sing Cat Stevens. It’s a good time to buy out Family Business, even if you’re still tempted to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Boss Baby: Family Business, a universal release, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for its crass humor, gentle language, and a bit of action. Duration: 107 minutes. Two out of four stars.

GAME TIME IS OVER: The Templeton Brothers (voiced by Alec Baldwin and James Marsden) are reunited after the new Boss Baby asks for their help in preventing a teacher from erasing childhoods around the world. AP Image via Universal Studios


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