Surprise! Dreamworks’ latest is not simply an exercise in sticking Alec Baldwin’s Scotch-mellowed tycoon’s rasp in the mouth of a CGI infant and chuckling at the juxtaposition. Instead, this story of a boy’s troubles when his baby brother arrives serves as a rousing defense of familial love as a good that can’t be commodified, and the family itself as a community that can’t be corporatized. Most magical of all, it’s a celebration of childhood imagination — that old-fashioned force that imbues ordinary life with extraordinary significance and wonder, all without the benefit of any sort of digital device. (It’s telling that the parents’ cameras are old-style, and even The Boss Baby’s hotline to headquarters is a corded, rotary toy.) Director Tom McGrath has the good sense to treat all this serious stuff with the lightest of touches, instead guiding the kiddies in the audience to focus on a battle between puppies and babies for human affection, the grown-ups on Baldwin’s quippery, and everybody on the oft-crossed line between fantasy and reality in the mind’s eye of a child.
Length: 1 hour, 37 minutes