Dreamwork’s The Boss Baby (2017) was mocked when it was released last year. And for good reason. The mockery only increased when it was announced the movie was nominated for an Oscar. The Boss Baby is a movie based off a children’s that nobody on Earth has heard of, and is an extreme combination of somebody’s Rugrats and Codename: Kids Next Door crossover fanfic that stars a celebrity that children definitely don’t recognize.
It’s an utterly baffling movie; the mockery and criticism were rightfully deserved but it wasn’t a terrible film. It had a creative premise and decent animation. I assume that some kids must love it. But it definitely was not worthy of an Oscar-nomination. Or for a good drunk laugh. Then the Netflix series came out.
Released earlier this month, The Boss Baby: Back in Business is all of the above, but weirder. It somehow manages to make less sense than the movie; this isn’t helped by the all the continuity errors between the two.
At the end of the movie, the Boss Baby decides to leave Baby Corp to live with his family and become a normal baby. He is named Theodore, and its implied that the events of the movie were a figment of Tim’s imagination. A scene at the end of the movie, shows Tim getting a second child; a daughter who is also a “Boss Baby,” something which only his older child seems to notice.
The series, however, takes place during Tim’s childhood shortly after the events of the movie; the Baby, who for whatever reason doesn’t seem to have a proper name in the series, is still working at Baby Corp and drinking his special formula to keep all of his adult capabilities. The threat against baby love this time? Cats.
Basically, the idea of the series is for the Boss Baby to learn that family and love is more important than work: something he already learned in the film.
Two of the babies from the first film, Staci and Jimbo, also seem to have families and work for BabyCorp. But, because they’re supposedly, “field agents” they aren’t mocked like Boss Baby is. It’s never made clear.
What is clear, though, is that the series is not taking place in Tim’s imagination.
I might be thinking about the show too much…I have questions regarding the use of the formula: It stunts a baby’s physical development so at some point he will have to stop drinking it, since he is supposed to be a normal baby. If he stops drinking the formula, he loses all his adult capabilities…Why isn’t this mentioned, at all? Isn’t it risky? Pretty much all the rules that the first film set are broken. The kids who watch the series might not care, but… Is it so bad to keep some kind of continuity between the two?
The least they could do is provide some kind of explanation as to why the Boss Baby is still working. I don’t care how bad of an explanation it is: the series manages to have an established story-line with continuity between episodes and the movie is constantly alluded to, so it shouldn’t be that difficult to provide a better connection to the movie.
Otherwise, the show is competent and has some genuinely funny moments, even if most of the humor is derived from potty-jokes or is adult humor that will go straight over children’s heads. It’s entertaining in an utterly bizarre “cult-classic” kind of way. There are some straight up hilarious lines. I can picture the show becoming popular with certain groups.
The show actually tries to put twists on well-known and classic cartoon plots. For example, in the episode where Tim has to help a creepy neighborhood woman, it turns out she licks her cats and makes sweaters out of the hairballs. She is promptly arrested because…that’s weird.
This humor actually works in the show’s favor. The show knows it has a ridiculous premise so it takes the idea and runs with it. Sometimes it fumbles and sometimes it just takes things way too far, but it’s still funny.
There are jokes that have no business being in a show for kids; it’s crossing the line not just once, twice but three times over: In the first episode, for the example, the babies decide that a poorly behaved infant be retrained and shipped off to a “value-sized mega-family who won’t even notice an extra kid” in Utah.
I was stunned.
Seriously, it’s something that wouldn’t be out of place in The Simpsons or South Park, in a parody of the original movie. Also, some of the best jokes are in the first episode and it’s kind of shame that they didn’t continue the trend.
Bootsy Calico, who is the main villain is both so poorly suited and so hilariously apt for the role that I’m not quite sure how to feel. Why?
Because, Calico embodies every single stereotype of a 1980s child molester to a T. He’s effeminate. He wears ‘pervert glasses.’ He talks with a lisp. And he has a weird obsession with babies. I’m actually uncomfortable watching him interact with the other characters…
He was also raised by cats.
I have no idea if this was the intended effect. If it was, good job.
Honestly, the show simply needs to decide if wants to target children and their parents or weirdos like me. I think it would work better if it kind of tried to escape the “cartoons are for kids” mold a bit more and tried harder to appeal towards an older demographic. Not that adults can’t enjoy kids’ cartoons or that kids’ cartoons can’t have more “racy” humor once in a while, but I think the concept would really succeed if it was allowed to be…raunchier?
But, the series simply has no reason to exist. The film wasn’t that successful at the box office, and only one of the voice actors returned to reprise their role in the show. I think we should have just let the film be. Because to be honest, it was kind of good as it was. For what it was.
And they’re already making a sequel (set to be released in 2021). There’s no way this same style of humor can make it through two movies and a television show without getting stale.
But to be fair, the series can be fun to watch. And I recommend at least checking out the pilot episode. It’s probably my favorite one of the series.
And that’s the scoop!
Series Rating: 6.5/10