The Boss Baby: Family Business reacquaints the viewer with the life of Tim Templeton (James Marsden). Once a child dealing with his bossy baby brother, Tim is now a stay-at-home dad caring for his two daughters. With his eldest daughter approaching teenage years, Tim begins to feel like he’s losing his connection with her like he did with his baby brother Ted (Alec Baldwin). Now a big-shot CEO, Ted has the world at his feet and has had little time for his family for several years. However, when Baby Corp comes calling once again, the two brothers must reunite—and turn back the clock—to go undercover and prevent an evil genius from destroying the relationships between babies and their parents around the world.
Once again directed by Tom McGrath, The Boss Baby: Family Business is another insanely strange mindtrip that takes the unexpected path for its sequel. Instead of simply charting ‘the next chapter’ in the relationship between Tim and Ted Templeton, Family Business unnecessarily fast forwards 30 years into the future, with both men fully grown adults who have taken different paths. Why this decision was made is somewhat of a mystery, especially as it forces them to ‘rewind time’ by making the men younger. Perhaps the decision has something to do with the fact that Netflix has a fairly successful series (yes, there is a series…) but, admittedly, somehow that sort of strange writing is also a staple of the franchise. As always, Family Business provides fast-paced animation, wild storytelling and ridiculous humour that borders on the insane.
But, somehow, it kinda works…?
For those who are unaware, the Boss Baby franchise is anchored on voice and comedic talent of Alec Baldwin. While he may not be the first name you think of when you think of funny, Baldwin has done more than his share of humour, having won Emmys for his role on 30 Rock and his portrayal of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live. As Ted Templeton, Baldwin excels in the role of CEO/’Boss Baby’ by playing his unique style of ‘business-themed comedy’ to the Nth degree here. In fact, it should be noted that Baldwin’s silly business rhetoric really is the show here. (If you’re not sure of that, note that he remains in the lead role while the voice of his onscreen brother was recast for the sequel, by substituting James Marsden for Tobey Maguire.)
Whereas the first film is a bit of a mind-trip about one brother, the second film fully embraces its own madness. Now adults, Family Business knows that it’s a film about babies so it creates a magical milk that gives full-grown adults an opportunity to be kids again. Between tyrannical toddlers to robotic exo-suits to ninja newborns, Family Business is a wild and unruly ball of crazy that will make some laugh and frustrate others. Are the events entirely in Tim’s head as he attempts to reconnect with his daughters? Or are they actually taking place in reality? Honestly, it doesn’t really matter. This is a franchise that doesn’t care if it blurs the lines between reality and imagination if it offers a few laughs on the side.
Having said this, the world of Boss Baby actually seems to thrive on the chaos. Despite its utterly nonsensical plot devices and silliness, the sequel may actually be funnier than the original. (Or maybe I’m immune now?) By focusing more on the adventure than the ‘business ethics’, Family Business has more opportunity to lean into the bizarre more than its predecessor, which works for this franchise. In fact, the film is even entirely self-aware of its divisiveness. For example, when adult Tim Templeton is asking his daughter what she thinks of his stories of his childhood, she seems unimpressed. “But the jokes were funny, right?,” he asks. “Not really,” she replies.
Even so, there still is an unexpected genuineness to this franchise. At its heart, the film has its brothers on two different (but connected) emotional arcs. On the one hand, Tim is a man who fears losing his daughter as she begins to show signs of growing up. On the other, Ted is a man who has grown up too much, throwing money (and neglect) on his nieces rather than spending time with them. As they work together to save babies around the world, so too do the ‘men’ begin to reassess their priorities and how they understand their families. Whereas Ted begins to realize how little he has appreciated his brother and his kids, Tim begins to recognize that growing up doesn’t mean the end of everything good.
Flooding the screen with inane colour and drug-induced dreamscapes where it can, the animation admittedly does look quite good on disc, especially in 4K. What’s more, the bonus features offer the necessary extras to keep your kids engaged. The most noteworthy additions may be the new short, Precious Templeton: A Pony Tale which is entertaining and Boss Baby Art Class which offers some tips on how to draw. While the materials aren’t enough to excite, they are in great quality and worthy additions to the disc.
Though there will be many who aren’t interested in the film, The Boss Baby: Family Business is a relatively worthy successor to the original. There’s such a silliness to the movie that, if you can enjoy, manages to draw you in with its madness.
However, if you’re looking for logic, it’s best to take your Business elsewhere.
The Boss Baby: Family Business is now available on 4K, Blu-Ray, and VOD.