A Review of ‘The Boss Baby’

“Diapers are all about power dynamics. I poop, they wipe, bam! I’m the boss.” – The Boss Baby in DreamWorks’ spring blockbuster, The Boss Baby

President Donald J. Trump turns in an admirable performance as The Boss Baby, a pint-sized executive who takes over a blissfully-ignorant all-American family. Spitting up at the table, making a stinky in his pants, brokering nefarious overseas deals in the middle of the night – the tiny megalomaniac’s tricks seem to never end in this tale of familial strife, change, and renewal.

This family-friendly story of an infant tyrant’s dystopian rise to power is a surefire hit for DreamWorks this spring. Bolstered by fine vocal performances across the board, the real standout in the film is U.S. President Donald Trump’s live-action performance. Indeed, Trump’s character study of the puerile despot goes beyond tiny hands and wispy orange coiffure to explore The Boss Baby‘s more vile dimensions; ultimately the tiny tycoon’s destruction of family stability is as certain as his sweet-potato-prune-dinner projectile vomit.

The story starts with young Tim, a naive only child who is perfectly happy with his family as is. After eight relatively peaceful and prosperous years, the prospect of a new baby stands to ruin everything! But all voices of authority reassure Tim that nothing too dramatic could possibly happen. When the big day finally arrives early one November morning, Tim has begrudgingly accepted the idea of a new baby in charge. But not even in his wildest nightmares could Tim have imagined the terror unleashed by The Boss Baby!

Tim looks on as the new “bundle of joy” forces Mom, Dad, and anyone else who will listen to tend to his every whim, convincing adults far and wide that he’s harmless, even adorable. Feeding The Boss Baby, burping The Boss Baby, listening to The Boss Baby scream at all hours of the night, startling awake from the tweets emanating from The Boss Baby‘s crib with the frequency, toxicity, and stench of his farts – it’s enough to tear a family apart!

Tim’s secessionist fantasies loom large as the miniature Machiavelli carries on with untamed vitriol and bravado. As poo-poo diapers pile ever higher and things seem like they can’t get any worse, Tim discovers The Boss Baby up late one night, pants off, storming around his playpen in his sock garters and making red-faced calls to his off-shore accounts. “Hold on, I’ve got to deal with the K-I-D,” says The Boss Baby. Not only can The Boss Baby speak, he’s got one razor-sharp tooth! And he is also a white collar criminal mastermind.

The only dubious moments of the The Boss Baby arise from the titular role itself, which, despite President Trump’s nuanced portrayal of such bombastic villainy, at times feels overwritten. “Behold our mortal enemy: puppies!” yells The Boss Baby to a room full of maniacal conspirators, i.e. other babies. The Boss Baby can elsewhere be found slapping a hand off the bottle that feeds him and throwing fistfuls of money at Tim whilst demanding a tuna roll and a latte. It’s as if nothing is ever enough for The Boss Baby.

As the writers cleverly smooth over all plot conflicts, the film seems to wrap up rather too tidily, leaving the viewer with a nagging suspicion that The Boss Baby‘s narrative remains unresolved – that for The Boss Baby, even the family who wipes the excrement from his powdered bottom will never be enough.

 

 




Martha Polk

Author: Martha Polk

Martha Polk is an Atlanta-based nonfiction writer/editor who writes most about TV, movies, and her parents. She's been published at Bitch Magazine and The Hairpin among other publications, and her essay "Eulogy for Nonsense" was a finalist for the Lamar York Prize for Nonfiction and is forthcoming in the spring issue of the The Chattahoochee Review.

Share This Post On