Monday, April 24, 2017

Looking at Movies - The Boss Baby (2017)

If you are someone who studies and follows the movie industry, then you know about the ongoing battle between DreamWorks and Pixar. Even though there is plenty of box office money out there for both companies, it seems like each is trying to outdo the other on a consistent basis. The newest effort from DreamWorks is The Boss Baby, and it is not the kind of film that will make people think of DreamWorks in the same light as Pixar. But it does offer more than a few laughs for every member of the family.

I took my four-year-old to see The Boss Baby with me and we both laughed at different parts. Long ago, Warner Brothers established the idea that cartoons should be written for adults and drawn for children. This movie follows that formula and it does so quite well. My grandson did not get any of the jokes, but he laughed at the slapstick. But if DreamWorks is ever going to come close to establishing the kind of quality Pixar is known for, then they need to hire writers who can go beyond one joke and develop movies that make adults think and everyone laugh.

Pixar has given us thoughtful and funny comedies such as Inside Out, while DreamWorks has found itself in a battle with Illumination Entertainment (the Minions people) for second place in the world of animation. With Illumination Entertainment pulling away for the runner-up spot, a movie like The Boss Baby is not enough to turn the tables in DreamWorks' favor. The Boss Baby is a predictable movie with plenty of fart and poop jokes that has an ending that even my four-year-old saw coming a mile away. But that does not mean it is not a fun night at the drive-in.

The Boss Baby looks and sounds like an animated work of art. The first thing I noticed about the movie is how absolutely perfect the animation was, and how much the sound moved the movie along. While a lot of the characters are cliche, this movie proves that DreamWorks remembers the first rule of making good animated films - never forget that you are making a cartoon.

Pixar humor tends to be quick-witted and doesn't let up once it starts. With The Boss Baby, the jokes are all left to stand on their own and there is no rapid-fire sequence that keeps you laughing out loud. There were bursts of laughter from my grandson and I throughout the movie, but there are no moments where you just keep laughing. All of the humor in this movie is visual, right down to the fart cloud that is as predictable as the rest of the movie.

Despite its flaws, The Boss Baby is a fun film that every member of the family can enjoy. DreamWorks did everything it could to drench the visual aspect of this movie in cuteness, and it does work at times. But the ending of the movie drags on too long, especially when you know exactly how it will end.

If you are looking for a fun night out at the drive-in, then The Boss Baby delivers the goods. If you are looking for a movie like Inside Out that will be remembered for many years to come, then it looks like DreamWorks is going to have to try a little harder next time.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

George N Root III is a movie fanatic who has the best four-year-old movie watching sidekick a guy could want. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at georgenroot3@gmail.com.

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