Boss Baby 2: Infantile and not in a good way

Lazily scripted sequel is a chore to watch and tests one’s faith in the three-act structure

Boss Baby 2: Abysmal

Film Title: The Boss Baby 2: Family Business

Director: Tom McGrath

Starring: Alec Baldwin, James Marsden, Amy Sedaris, Ariana Greenblatt, Jeff Goldblum, Eva Longoria, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow

Genre: Animation

Running Time: 107 min

Fri, Oct 22, 2021, 05:00

   

Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Whatever its faults, 2017’s The Boss Baby – as adapted from Marla Frazee’s best-selling picture book – had a concept. The hit family comedy, told from the perspective of unreliable seven-year-old narrator Tim Templeton (James Marsden), framed the arrival of a baby brother as a hostile corporate takeover. It helped that the chief executive usurper, voiced by Alec Baldwin, evoked Alec Baldwin’s SNL shtick as Donald Trump. The film has subsequently spawned a TV series and this largely abysmal sequel. 

It feels churlish to call a talking baby movie implausible but the screenplay by Austin Powers co-writer Michael McCullers really does test one’s faith in the three-act structure and in enchanted ponies (yes, there’s an enchanted pony). As Boss Baby 2 opens, Tim is a stay-at-home dad who has drifted apart from his adult hedge-fund brother Ted (still Baldwin) and who fears that his precocious eight-year-old daughter, Tabitha, is growing up too fast. 

Enter baby Tina (Amy Sedaris), Tim’s infant daughter on a secret mission from BabyCorps, a mission that requires – wait for it – dad Tim and Uncle Ted to drink magical formula that turns them into babies again. If you think that’s lazy, stay tuned for Jeff Goldblum’s terrible secret. 

We’ll say one thing for Boss Baby 2: its untidy, unpredictable, and unmannerly form does, indeed, evoke the exhausting, mucky business of baby tending, albeit with nothing like the familial rewards. Smaller viewers may well thrill to the relentlessness. Larger ones may beg for a nice lie-down. 

In an early scene, Ted attempts to recount the events of the first film to daughter Tabitha. “It was a good story, wasn’t it?” he offers. “Well, it didn’t really make a lot of sense,” comes the sensible response. Just wait until the poor kid hears the plot of the sequel.