Alec Baldwin’s return, bright colors, and a touch of sweetness makes this sequel cute.
“The Boss Baby” was one of the most popular animated films of 2017, grossing over $500 million worldwide, and ergo, there had to be a sequel with a smart subtitle: “Family Business.” As I failed to find the adult quality in “Spirit: Untamed,” also released by Dreamworks Animation,” I managed to find something inside “The Boss Baby: Family Business” that makes it funnier, brighter, and more versatile than the original.
And it got me thinking: after seeing “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” “Trolls: World Tour,” and “The Croods: A New Age,” I’m beginning to ponder that the studio is actually pushing their sequels further. They actually deliver on various levels, leaving the kids gigging and the adults inspired.
Alec Baldwin was the voice of the Boss Baby in the original film, and he reprises his role, this time as an adult. I met the actor back in 2013, and I’ve almost always find his acting and charisma to be perfect. He gives the baby the kind of vibe that he offered as Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock,” and he’s entertaining.
As the Boss Baby, named Theodore Templeton, and his older brother Tim (now voiced by James Marsden) grow up, they go their separate ways and end up being estranged. The former is a billionaire, while the latter is a stay-at-home dad with his breadwinner wife (voiced by Eva Longoria), and two daughters: the studious 2nd grader Tabitha (voiced by Ariana Greenblatt) and the baby Tina. In fact, Tim gets annoyed that every Christmas, Ted just delivers them lavish gifts, including a Pony. I guess Tabitha is too young to see “Gone With the Wind.” He’s still, however, able to keep the childhood adventures and fantasies inside, which leads to his eldest daughter thinking they both have to grow up soon.
And speaking of growing up.
Turns out this Boss Baby magic is now hereditary since the baby Tina is also a Boss Baby from BabyCorp. She’s voiced by Amy Sedaris, and she’s sassy and whimsical in the ways she tries to mimic Sally Field mixed with a little Tina Fey. Tina enlists both Tim and Ted’s help in infiltrating an advanced school run by the powerful Dr. Armstrong (voiced by Jeff Goldblum), which Tabitha attends. Does he have plans for world domination? And does he have plans to make the children smarter than their parents? That’s for him to know and them to find out, which is why the adult brothers are given a formula that gives them back their youth for two days.
Too much can happen from time to time with all this eye candy going on, but on the other hand, it’s actually fun the way director Tom McGrath guides the animation team and writers. For the kids, there’s a goofy charm, and for the adults, there’s a connection that makes them want to watch it with them. Why couldn’t “Spirit Untamed” be at this kind of potential? This one actually makes the right choice of being released simultaneously in theaters and on the Peacock streaming service.
I’ve already delivered my praise to Baldwin’s commitment and Sedaris’ zest, but vocal credit must also go to Marsden, who has the kind of joyous personality he previously gave in “Hop” and “Enchanted.” Greenblatt, who was excellent in “The One and Only Ivan,” continues to expand her horizons as a young actress. And Goldblum has fun with the notion of a genius who is more childish than he appears to be, and yet is more mature about it.
Seeing the adults and kids collaborate, I was reminded of how lame and tedious “Aliens in the Attic” was when the kids had to engage in unnecessary lies to keep their parents from being under the aliens’ kind control devices, since they only work on them. This movie does it just right.
As a young adult, I seek quality in animated features as I just did with “Luca,” and since I’m not made of stone, I seek exuberance in them-the kind that makes the movie-going experience fun-and I also expect them to be nice about it. “The Boss Baby: Family Business” is both fun and nice.
In Theaters and Streaming on Peacock