A TALE of sibling rivalry told from the point of view of a fanciful seven-year-old and starring Alec Baldwin as the infant brother ... what could possibly go wrong?
The only son of two doting parents (Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow), Tim Templeton spends most of his waking hours immersed in a rich and vivid imaginary world.
It's hardly surprising, then, that his version of the events surrounding his baby brother's life-altering arrival takes a familiar narrative in wild and unexpected new directions.
Boss Baby is an alien creature who exerts some kind of strange and malevolent power over Tim's mother and father causing them behave in an odd and uncharacteristic manner.
So far so textbook.
Tim's feelings of abandonment are also instantly recognisable.
But Boss Baby (Baldwin) also wears a suit and tie, carries a briefcase and speaks with the voice of Alec Baldwin.
And it's about here that the story (narrated by Tobey Maguire in the role of the adult Tim) parts ways with any internal logic - despite the occasional flash to the parents' point of view (all they see is two children playing.)
Tim's suspicions that his infant brother is not what he seems are confirmed when he catches his sibling one night on the phone to "head office".
Boss Baby works for an organisation that pops out babies on a conveyor belt, dispatching them to waiting families with a minimum of fuss.
Recently, however, Baby Corp has been losing a significant proportion of its market share to tail-wagging puppy dogs.
It's Boss Baby's mission to remedy this intolerable state of affairs.
Memorable baby roles are few and far between - probably for good reason.
Bruce Willis's wisecracking infant, Mikey, in the L ook Who's Talking movies is clearly the stand out in this category.
Baldwin's Boss Baby is a smooth and sophisticated variation on the theme. The 30 Rock star has some cracker lines which he delivers with an impressive sangfroid.
The film is jauntily paced and the animation is beautifully rendered. The baby assembly line, for example, is a heavenly combination of cuteness and humour.
But unlike the L ook Who's Talking films, which were grounded in some kind of domestic reality, Tim's version of events is so crazy and far-fetched, it's hard to have much emotional investment in the outcome.
Boss Baby is one of those films you have forgotten almost before the credits roll.
The Boss Baby
Stars: Alec Baldwin, Tobey Maguire, Lisa Kudrow.
Director: Tom McGrath
Verdict: 3/5 stars
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