The Boss Baby: Family Business
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
This article may reveal spoilers, especially considering the film had either been released recently or not in specific countries yet.
The Boss Baby: Family Business is a 2021 American 3D computer-animated comedy film loosely based on the 2010 picture book of the same name by Marla Frazee, produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Universal Pictures, however, this film follows the story of the picture book The Bossier Baby, sequel to The Boss Baby source material. The second installment in The Boss Baby franchise, and serving as a sequel to the 2017 film, the film was directed by Tom McGrath, from a screenplay by Michael McCullers, and stars the voice of Alec Baldwin as the title character, alongside James Marsden, Amy Sedaris, Ariana Greenblatt, Eva Longoria, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow and Jeff Goldblum. The film was theatrically released in the United States on July 2, 2021 in traditional and select RealD 3D and Dolby Cinema locations, by Universal Pictures; it was also given a 60 day simultaneous streaming release on Peacock.
Now adults, Tim Templeton is a stay-at-home dad for two adorable daughters, while his estranged brother, Ted, is a big-shot CEO. They come together in an unexpected way when they take a magical formula that transforms them into babies for 48 hours. Joining forces with Tim's secret-agent daughter, they must go under cover to prevent an evil genius from turning fellow toddlers into monstrous brats.
- The story is still generic, just like the first film.
- It also contains awkward moments, much like the first film, like toilet humor.
- The writing isn't lazy, per se, but the tone is completely insane and nonsensical, which makes the story a little hard to follow at times.
- Despite the suggestion at the end of the first film that a sequel could focus on Tim's daughter and her newborn sister, Tim's eldest daughter doesn't seem to have much to do even though she could be involved in the adventure.
- Several scenes happen with very little rhyme or reason, including several fantasy sequences and even a musical number between Tim and Tabitha.
- The release date of the film is pretty weird, since it wants to push a narrative of Tim and Ted coming together at Christmas, which makes it all the more confusing that it released in July, even if though it was released closer to the holidays in October in other countries.
- The whole new Baby Formula that turns adults into babies idea seems like a cheap excuse to bring back the younger designs of Tim and the Boss Baby.
- Inconsistency: Although Tim's daughter tells him and Theodore that the new Baby Formula turns adults back into babies for two days, Tim rejuvenates into a kid but not as a baby. This could be explained because Theodore had more of the formula than him, but as it is, it only happens because the filmmakers needed him to return to his younger self from the first film.
- Another inconsistency is when Ted Sr. and Janice bring up how Tim told them about how Theodore could talk as a baby and how their boss tried to kidnap them, even though their memories were erased near the end of the first movie.
- Also, when Tim is transformed back into a child, he keeps his adult voice. This admittedly isn't the biggest deal, but it does sound weird compared to Miles Bakshi's more natural child voice and does somewhat question why they didn't just bring him back to do his child voice.
- Jimbo, Stacy, and the Triplets, three characters from the first film, are reduced to cameos to the point where Stacy doesn't even get a line.
- The relationship between kid-Tim and Tabitha may be cute on paper, but the way it's executed raises some strange, possibly incestual implications.
- Shameless product placement, such as the Hot Wheels logo appearing on adult Tim’s T-Shirt, the Boss Baby and the babies using Play-Doh for an escape plan, and the day being saved by combining Mentos with cola. Of course, while a few DreamWorks Animation movies like Antz, Madagascar, Bee Movie, Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, Turbo, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and even Shark Tale have product placement, at least they used the product placement efficiently (parodied in both Shrek films and Shark Tale’s cases) by making them have minor appearances and focuses mostly on their plots thus making them don’t stand out as shameless, but here, the product placement is used as plot devices in a few scenes unlike those films combined, making the product placement in this and the first movie feel very out of place for a DreamWorks Animation movie.
- A clip from Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is shown at one point in a theatre during the chase scene. This was clearly put in to promote Spirit Untamed, since that was scheduled to release after this film, but due to this movie being delayed to July, resulting in Untamed releasing first, it becomes out of place.
- The scene where Boss Baby and Tim pinch each other in the chests and the "Casual Fridays" poster are very disturbing to see.
- It tries way too hard to be hip with the kids with smartphone references and social media parodies, especially since there was a thankfully unused line from the trailer where Tim's youngest daughter tells both him and Theodore "Now you work for me, boomers". While the line was removed, Theodore still says "it's Night of the Living Boomers!" regardless.
- Like with the first film, the villain (Dr Armstrong) is rather weak despite his motivations for being one.
- Very poorly executed and kinda weak plot-twist where it's revealed that Dr. Armstrong is actually a baby the entire time.
- Once again, dated references to popular culture in a modern children's animated movie like using Cat Stevens' "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out".
- The Dreamworks logo is reused from the first film without making a new variant for the sequel, which is outright lazy even for DreamWorks Animation standards.
- Amy Sedaris' voice work as Tina is excruciating.
- The movie does not maintain continuity with the Netflix television series The Boss Baby: Back in Business and definitely retcons the series as non-canonical.
- Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro's score is pretty good at best.
- The animation’s pretty imaginative and the Christmas setting is admittedly beautiful.
- It isn't all that offensive and is completely harmless for kids as the gross-out/farting jokes did slightly get toned down.
- The film does at least have a heartwarming ending, where Tim’s family comes together for Christmas and Dr. Armstrong gets reunited with his family.
Like the first film, The Boss Baby: Family Business received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for the humor but criticism for the aimless plot. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 46% based on 100 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "It's more C-level than C-suite, but as a painless diversion for the kids, this Boss Baby manages some decent Family Business.". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 40 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "mixed reviews".