Review – A Sequel? Hold My Formula! (“Boss Baby 2: Family Business”)

In a tale of contrasts, the original 2017 animated movie, Boss Baby, made a ton of money at the box office, but didn’t exactly wow critics and audiences with its complicated plot and overuse of bodily function and adult jokes. So, why was a sequel greenlit? One gue$$.

Picking up from the events of the first movie, little brother Tim (voiced by James Marsden) and his suit-wearing baby brother Ted (Alec Baldwin) are now adults. Ted is a high-powered CEO, while Tim is a stay-at-home dad and married to breadwinner & super-mom, Carol (Eva Longoria), and have two kids: super-smart 7-year-old Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt), and super-cute baby, Tina (Amy Sedaris). But Tim is worried about Tabitha as she’s growing up too fast. She may be top of her class at the prestigious Acorn Center for Advanced Childhood, but she doesn’t want to be hugged anymore and she’s not engaging in the family games.

Just as Tabitha is going off the deep end, baby Tina reveals to Tim that she’s (drum roll, please) a top-secret agent for BabyCorp (Ted’s old company) and is on a mission to uncover the dark secrets behind Tabitha’s school and its mysterious founder, Dr. Erwin Armstrong (Jeff Goldblum) who is hiding a mysterious secret. Tina convinces both Tim and Ted to put aside their intense sibling rivalry and drink a de-aging formula that’ll have them revert back to their former younger selves so they can infiltrate the school and get the goods on Dr. Armstrong. Tim becomes 7-years-old and his brother Ted becomes a baby again.

After a harrowing and utterly ridiculous, but nonetheless hilarious runaway trip to the school, Tim & Ted find all is not as it should be there. Tim, using the name Marcos Lightspeed (one of many in-jokes and puns), learns why his daughter is so driven and that she also has crushing stage fright for an upcoming solo at a Holiday pageant. Meanwhile, Ted has made an astonishing discovery as to the true identity of Dr. Armstrong and, after chumming up with the sociopath, also finds out his nefarious plans to turn all the parents of the world into zombie-slaves using a cellphone app. Yeah, they ripped off Stephen King’s Cell.

Anyway, throughout the movie, while trying to stop the nasty villain, Ted & Tim are always bickering with each other (like they were in the first movie) in a constant war of one-upmanship of who’s the best. At times it gets old, other times it does deliver some pretty funny moments, like a delicious parody of The Shawshank Redemption. They even reference the first movie’s weird and difficult-to-follow plot, which is funny in itself, as this movie cranks the weirdness factor up to eleven with ninja-babies, a super-powered pony called Precious, and an underground lair of programming babies from all over the world that raises so, SO many questions.

Screenwriter Michael McCullers is no stranger to writing outlandish scripts, as he penned two Austin Powers movies, Undercover Brother (a personal favorite), and Peabody & Sherman. Borrowing from the non-stop lunacy and ‘WTH is happening?’ craziness of the old Warner Bros cartoon universe, these characters reside in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it world of wildly exaggerated imagination where nothing is real, things and people appear out of nowhere (creepy baby reference), and a message of parental love is thrown in for good measure as a nice cherry on top.

It’s funny, frenetic, fast-paced, and nothing at all makes any kind of sense, thanks to director Tom McGrath’s ultra-violent pace, which is his bread & butter, especially if you’ve seen his incredible work in films like Monsters vs Aliens, Megamind, and Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa. Not that that’s a bad thing! There are some very sweet, slow moments that define the movie’s core message of growing up and parenting, and then you have some extraordinary full-scale chase scenes that are outrageously over-the-top that make the Furious movies look woefully boring.

**Now showing in theaters and streaming on Peacock (premium only) 

Baby Geniuses (1999)

A cinematic disaster, this wretched film was co-written and directed by Bob Clark, the writer/director who gave us such terrific movies as the raunchy Porky’s, everyone’s yuletide favorite A Christmas Story, and the uplifting Turk182. So what went so horribly wrong with this film?

In a movie that has to be seen to be believed, many great actors were totally wasted in this piece of garbage, which features a bunch of real toddlers either CG photo-shopped with little people or CG enhanced so that their lips move when they’re speaking English. Oy!! Anyway, the premise of this abomination is that a hush-hush organization called BabyCo has stumbled onto a scientific breakthrough: babies around two are born with super-intellects that include telepathy, a secret language, and ninja skills! BUT, they lose it all a year later when they hit three or so. Sinister doctor’s Kinder (Kathleen Turner) and Heep (Christopher Lloyd) are trying to solve this mystery.

And HOW do they do it? Not only by performing diabolical tests on a bunch of kidnapped toddlers, but also by opening a chain of Joy World theme parks for more research, which includes a hideous eight-foot-tall animatronic baby mascot with creepy soul-sucking eyes! OMG! In a side plot, there are two identical twins, Sly & Whit (Leo, Gerry, and Miles Fitzgerald) that have been separated at birth. Sly is at BabyCo and Whit is at a baby orphanage run by loving parents, Robin & Dan Bobbin (Kim Cattrall & Peter MacNichol), along with their goofy handyman, Lenny (Dom DeLuise). But one day, super-genius Sly escapes from BabyCo and, through sheer coincidental stupidity, Whit and Sly get switched at a shopping mall!

The babies at the Bobbins’ place hypnotize Lenny (because of course they can!) and that’s where the stupidest showdown ever put on film occurs, pitting toddlers in diapers against adults, as these babies take over the controls of Joy World and launch an attack. Even though this movie is beyond bad, beyond stupid, and totally without merit, it spawned (from Hell) not one, but FOUR sequels!! And each one worse than the other! It was obvious this was a paycheck movie for stars Turner, Lloyd, DeLuise, Cattrall, Ruby Dee, and Kaye Ballard as the dialogue was utterly ridiculous, inane, and just plain bad. How Bob Clark and first-time-writer Greg Michael (his one and only screenplay, BTW) got this greenlit is a real head-scratcher.

Clark, usually a fine director, decided that since this is a kids film (and I use that term VERY loosely), so he used distorted, fish-eye lenses for the bad guys in the BabyCo labs, making the heads of Turner and Lloyd look cartoony & bulbous. Umm… scary? The toddlers, reminiscent of the kiddies from the 1932 Baby Burlesk shorts (where 5-year-old Shirley Temple got her start), run around in diapers, laugh, and smirk at the camera, blissfully unaware that they’re even being filmed. That’s where the CG mouths come in and it’s dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Don’t watch this movie. Ever. I hear they use this as torture at Guantanamo Bay. Very effective, I understand. Better than waterboarding.   

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