Calgary Herald

Put this baby in a corner

- CHRIS KNIGHT cknight@postmedia.com twitter.com/chrisknigh­tfilm

They grow up so fast, don't they?

Well, yes and no. When The Boss Baby came out four years ago, most of the story took place in 1980, when Alec Baldwin's Boss Baby character was an infant, and his brother Tim was seven.

The Boss Baby: Family Business (a.k.a. The Boss Baby 2) moves the action to the present. Tim (voiced by James Marsden) is now a grown-up with two kids of his own, while Theodore (Baldwin) is a successful businessma­n, emphasis on the man.

So, how to put the baby back in the bathwater, as it were? Returning writer Michael Mccullers and director Tom Mcgrath have decided to make Tim's infant daughter the same kind of preternatu­rally intelligen­t talking baby (voiced by Amy Sedaris) that Baldwin played in the last movie.

And when a threat against babydom is detected, she offers her dad and her uncle a super-serum that turns them back into the characters we know and love from the first film. OK, fine, the characters we know from the first film.

Now aside from the ick factor of Tim suddenly being the same age as his daughter — I was briefly horrified that the screenplay might try to inject some sort of Back to the Future misguided love-interest angle to the story — and looking like a child to his wife, there's everything else going on with the plot.

It's a complicate­d affair, and messier than a baby eating peach cobbler. Basically, Jeff Goldblum provides the voice of Dr. Armstrong, an educator whose Acorn Centers schools aim to turn out super-smart children who have no need for their parents, or ... something like that.

Honestly, I may have checked out for a brief nap midway through the second act.

Might've been Goldblum's lacklustre line readings that did me in. I didn't know phoning it in could apply to voice work, but apparently so. On the other hand, there's 63-year-old Baldwin, playing a filthy rich CEO one moment and a baby in diapers the next. What range! He also gets one of the movie's few truly funny lines, when he's trapped in the preschool room at the Acorn Center and rallies his peers with a cry of: “Who wants to play Shawshank?”

It's not quite worth the price of admission, however. In fact, I'd suggest that after two Boss Baby movies and several seasons of a TV spinoff, it might be time for the franchise to take a time out.

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