Review: Candy coated 'The Boss Baby: Family Business' turns chaos into laughs
Courtesy of Dreamworks Animation
The unexpected worldwide success of “The Boss Baby” (over $500 million) all but guaranteed a sequel was coming down the pipeline. Though its predecessor was memorable if only for the excellent voicework by Alec Baldwin, “The Boss Baby: Family Business” manages to turn candy coated madness into genuine laughs and won’t make parents groan for the exit. Baldwin returns to the fold voicing the titular baby in a sequel set 25 years after the first one, yet through the magic of screenwriting allows his youth to remain intact. There’s something comical about a chubby baby crawling around in a suit and tie barking orders about IRS audits and stock portfolios with Baldwin’s cadence (“Cookies are for closers” was his catchphrase in an obvious nod to the actor’s role in “Glengarry Glen Ross”).
“Family Business” doesn’t so much rewrite the formula, but adds an interesting batch of new faces to help boost giggles. You won’t be held accountable if the events of 2017’s “The Boss Baby” slipped your memory. The animated hit was popular among children, but didn’t have the crossover appeal (or laughs) like Dreamworks’ “Shrek” franchise. “Family Business” sees the Templeton brothers, Tim (James Marsden) and Ted (Baldwin) having drifted apart, the latter was sent from Baby Crop in the first film, but, now grown up, runs a multi-million dollar business. Tim, on the other hand, is a happy-go-lucky stay-at-home papa while his wife brings home the bacon. His youngest daughter, Tina (Amy Sedaris), we find out, is one of those secret agents sent from Baby Corp, whose mission to stop Dr. Erwin Armstrong (Jeff Goldblum, quirky with all the mannerisms and influx of his Apartments.com commercials) will require the assistance of good ole’ Uncle Ted.
Explaining how Ted and Tim transform back into their younger selves, albeit for a brief 48-hour widow, isn’t the most outlandish scenario in a film where the nefarious, egomaniacal bad guy wants to use the mindpower of babies for world domination. It’s pure chaos, but the mission is a goofy, silly romp that’s hyper caffeinated energy is its best strength. Ninja babies, jokes about a “Shawshank” prison escape during timeout, and the charismatic Baldwin offer enough surprises and consistent jokes for a relentlessly paced 105 minutes to move smoothly.
No child should find themselves bored with the amount of fluff director Tom McGrath throws on screen. And parents will appreciate the tender message of estranged brothers discovering the true meaning of family and McGrath works in a nice subsection of rekindling bromances. A side mission around Ted going to school with his 7-year daughter, Tabitha (voiced by Ariana Greenblatt) and the adorable presence of Sedaris’ Tina round out this cheerful and winning sequel, but Goldblum doing signature Goldblum (you know the kind) sends “Family Business” into the stratosphere.
THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS opens in theaters and streams on Peacock Friday, July 2nd.