By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Playing on Peacock
and theatres near you.
Aug 31, 2021
Home media release:
Sept 14, 2021
The only shame with The Boss Baby franchise is the voice of Tim Templeton, one of the main characters, was recast. I would’ve preferred Pierce Gagnon from the Netflix continuation than James Marsden to take over. Tobey Maguire isn’t back because he doesn’t have the skills to sing. Usually someone else can fill in those bits but the producers opted to get a new performer. This information was reported on Yahoo News.
Unless Timmy’s voice cracked twice, he’s not likely to experience a second or third childhood since he never fully grew up. The hilarity isn’t tough to maintain. As a director, Tom McGrath‘s crazy sense of humour is exemplified when he was the brains behind Penguins of Madagascar. Ever since that series was retired, he’s been bringing his style to other properties. He directed Back in Business and shared creating the story with Michael McCullers. The short bursts of kiddie humour are off the rails—especially during the climax—and yes I miss the birds.
Knowing the Netflix series isn’t required, and I thought the movie release on a rival streaming network unusual. The pattern of some group wanting to topple Baby Corp is reused, but this time it’s babies versus a baby and a kid who finally grew up and had to revert (to go undercover) to make up the premise of this film. The events happen within the space of a week.
Strangely, the supporting gang isn’t needed (although it’s nice to see what jobs they’ve taken as they are now adults). This movie gets us caught up with everyone as they are fulfilling their dreams. Tim is a stay at home dad. I’m wondering what his job was before the new generation arrived. Was he a writer or did he have some creative position at a firm? We’ll never know.
Wizzie (James McGrath), my favourite character, returns and I still don’t know if his sentience is a product of Tim’s imagination or part of some other magic that makes up this universe. He steals the show.
Tim and Theo are the only lads needed to discover what Dr Armstrong (Jeff Goldblum), the founder of the Acorn Center for Advanced Childhood, is up to. His goal—a light satire on how corporations could run the world if they wanted—is not as verbose as McGrath could’ve taken it to, but he knew this film is for kids rather than adults to watch. Goldblum is a hoot. His performance shows why he’s just an incredible actor. He doesn’t do a lot of voice over work and when he does, he makes that animated character uniquely his.
Baby Corp suspects an evil plan is afoot and just how Tina (the youngest) became part of the family business is a plot hole I like an answer to. I also want to know how she became a wisecracking New Yorker (complete with accent) when considering none of the family ever lived there! I doubt either will ever get answered. It’s easy to figure out why she’s there though: since Tim’s memories weren’t erased, the bigwigs need a spy in the Templeton household to check in on Tim in case he ever accidentally spill the beans. If the last few minutes of this movie is an indication, it seems the entire family knows and that can make for an intriguing third film.
This movie is terrific at looking at the ties that bind all families together. Be they about sibling relationships or kids to their parents, that time when individuals grow apart is bound to happen. After losing Theodore (Alec Baldwin) since he is all corporate minded, Tim fears not connecting with his daughter, Tabitha, too. He’s unaware that Tina is a plant until she reveals herself. I particularly like how this tale is a huge contrast to the first film and series. It deals with giving babies more freedom.
Technically, this fantasy realm doesn’t have to follow any rules from our reality. After following the Netflix series, I have to wonder how many secret societies exist. These groups wanted to outdo the status quo, and the plot concerning Armstrong can easily have been the finale for the Netflix series. I’m glad it’s a movie instead because to follow Tim and Theo’s teenage years are not needed. We do get a crash course overview, and thankfully those moments aren’t long, otherwise this series would be called The Wonder Years.
3½ Stars out of 5