“The Boss Baby’”

Metro USA (New York) - - Wknd - MP

“The Boss Baby” plays like one of those films that started out with a sim­ple, zero-com­mon­de­nom­i­na­tor pitch, then got hope­lessly gar­bled en route to the big screen. It prob­a­bly be­gan with seven sim­ple words: “What if a baby was a boss?” Luck­ily, at some point enough peo­ple re­al­ized that was stupid even for a stupid kids’ movie. But in try­ing to make it smart, they over­com­pen­sated. As so, we have what “The Baby Boss” re­ally is, which is the most con­vo­luted, bizarre story since “Col­lat­eral Beauty.” Try­ing to explain the plot at par­ties will make you feel like you’re on acid.

First off, he’s not re­ally a boss baby. He’s Tem­ple­ton (voice of Alec Bald­win), and like all ba­bies in the al­ter­nate di­men­sion of “The Boss Baby,” he was cre­ated in a se­cret fac­tory. Most ba­bies are sent off to fam­i­lies to live nor­mal baby lives, adults nonethe-wiser. Tem­ple­ton was cho­sen to be part of “man­age­ment,” shipped off to a cor­po­ra­tion called “BabyCorp,” where talk­ing, smart ba­bies work hard to make sure adults still have ba­bies. Or some­thing. It’s a lit­tle vague. Tem­ple­ton as­pires to be CEO, and so he elects to pose as a reg­u­lar, non-smart baby to stop an epi­demic that has more peo­ple buy­ing cute pup­pies than they are poop­ing out cute ba­bies. (Is this even a real trend?)

Some­times “The Boss Baby” plays like a par­ody of mod­ern main­stream cinema’s weird yen for im­pos­si­bly dense mytholo­gies, where even a sim­ple story about a tod­dler walk­ing around in a suit has to spend half its length ex­plain­ing the plot. The good news is that it’s also fre­quently charm­ing, even de­light­ful. The story is told not by Tem­ple­ton, but by Tim (Miles Christo­pher Bak­shi), a 7-year-old sub­ur­ban­ite. Tim ad­mits to hav­ing an over­ac­tive imag­i­na­tion, and his tale pur­ports to delve into his anx­i­eties over hav­ing a younger brother, much less one that in pri­vate speaks with the voice of our cur­rent reign­ing Trump im­per­son­ator. (Speak­ing of which, the Trump­isms are, alas, dev­as­tat­ingly low, though Tem­ple­ton is def­i­nitely the bet­ter busi­ness­man.) It’s a beau­ti­fully made film. It just doesn’t make any sense.

DREAMWORKS AN­I­MA­TION

The Alec Bald­win-voiced runt in “The Boss Baby” looks down­right pres­i­den­tial.

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