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Boss Baby: Family Business - Blu-ray + DVD + Digital, The
Apparently the Dreamworks film Boss Baby has become quite the little industry for the studio. What started as a couple of picture books when into that 2017 release that made half a billion dollars worldwide, followed by a Netflix show that recently finished its fourth season, and so 2021's Family Business is the first theatrical follow-up, with the gang appearing to be all here for it?
Writer Michael McCullers and director Tom McGrath reunite to helm this project, with all the familiar voices back in this animated joint. Tim (James Marsden, Sonic the Hedgehog), a baby in the first film, is now a stay at home Dad raising Tabitha (Arianna Greenblatt) and baby Tina (Amy Sedaris, Strangers with Candy). Ted (Alec Baldwin, The Departed) is Tim's brother, who has strayed away from being around the family often. When Tim learns that Tina is a Boss Baby too, Tina brings Tim and Ted back to foil an evil plan by the head of Tabitha's school (Jeff Goldblum, Isle of Dogs).
I've seen bits and pieces of the Boss Baby properties be it the film or the show, because my son controls the remote and he's more interested in anything dinosaur related at the moment. But I've laughed every so often when it comes to seeing it on television, largely because the initial imagery of Baldwin voicing an infant does have novel entertainment to it, and the Babys tend to make their jokes with a tinge of grown-up humor in them. Tina was a silent character in the first film and Sedaris' addition to the film makes sense on a bunch of sense because she can go barb for barb with anyone in the cast. Goldblum plays the whimsical villain role nicely, handling his being as a baby while bringing enough Goldblum essence to the party.
I think in the Boss Baby urge to make things grown up while appealing to kids, I think a couple of things are lost, however. The story becomes overcomplicated and tries to work in jokes about Ted and Tim as teenagers or grownups at various points, using the device that is supposed to turn them into kids to stop the Goldblum villain plan. It tends to revel in that stuff and forgets that the reason that it's here, to serve as funny voices for babies. Family Business is not bad, it just tries to do things that it does not need to do, and the jokes it goes for just don't land as a result.
Given the effort in licensing it, I'm sure this won't be the last time we'll be seeing the Boss Baby franchise, and I think we'll watch it a few more times in our house, it's just that in trying to be funny for grown-ups and kids, it disappoints both demos, but it's good to leave on for a minute. Which may be what the purpose of Baby desires, but I digress.The Blu-ray:
MPEG-4 codec for the high-definition Blu-ray of the film in 2.35:1 widescreen and things are handled as you'd expect them to for an animated joint; colors are bright and vibrant while black levels in things like the baby's suit jackets, or in the blues of the school or greens of the outdoors, things look marvelous on the Blu-ray. You will definitely marvel at the tech while your kid is entertained.The Sound:
Dolby Atmos for Family Business which is equal to the task for the film. Lots of dynamic range in chases and explosions that provide low-end fidelity. Dialogue is consistent and well-balanced through the film and directional effects and channel panning are abundant and provide a more than convincing layer of immersion to the experience. Technically the disc is a gem.Extras:
McGrath, producer Jeff Hermann and production designer Raymond Zibach team up for a commentary that gets into the making of the film, the challenges in trying to pull it all together, sharing anecdotes when possible. It is a decent track but not essential, as the balance of the extras are child-focused, starting with "Precious Templeton: A Pony Tale" (4:15) where the cast provide voice to a horse looking for the bedazzled crown at a show. There is an unfinished, deleted scene next (3:25) with introduction by McGrath, followed by "Never Grow Up" (6:16) where the cast and crew share their favorite characters while providing their own insights on virtual production meetings during 2019 and 2020. "Roll Call" is a three-segment look at the stars (8:15) while "Creative Experiment Lab" looks at three science experiments, old and new, and explains the science behind them (7:18). "Art Class" shows you how to draw the three main characters (8:23) while a music video (2:59) completes the extras, along with a standard definition copy and digital version.Final Thoughts:
I imagine that if you and/or your family liked the first Boss Baby film you will like the second, especially when you add comedy vets like Sedaris and Goldblum into the mix. But it is an apparently entertaining but forgettable film from the perspective of a Dad with a kid. Technically it's a peach, but the extras remind me of Sponge on the Run, where they are targeted to the kids and lack any real bit for the adults. Solid ‘eh!' from me.