The Movie Guru: “The Boss Baby: Family Business,” “The Tomorrow War” among lackluster Friday releases
Reviews of movies like "The Boss Baby" sequel aren't really meant for everyone.
“The Boss Baby: Family Business” (Peacock and theaters)
There’s an entire group of people who need no more information than the title to know they’re never going to see the movie. Maybe they don’t have kids young enough to get sucked into mid-level cartoons, or maybe they just can’t bear the thought of a suit-wearing baby voiced by Alec Baldwin. Even if someone wrote the most glowing review in the world, it wouldn’t be enough to change their opinion.
No, reviews of movies like “Boss Baby: Family Business” are meant for the people who are probably going to see the movie anyway.
For those people, I can assure you that the new “Boss Baby” is at least as good as the first one. Yes, it’s cheesy and prone to childish humor, but if you’ve seen the first one you know to expect that. It also doubles down on the first movie’s celebration of both imagination and family, though this one also focuses on parents and children in addition to siblings.
The biggest difference is that “Family Business” drops the idea that Baby Corp. only existed in the older brother’s imagination, fully embracing it as a fantasy organization. This actually makes the movie slightly less weird than the original, and allows for the plot to get considerably wackier. Jeff Goldblum is the perfect bad guy for this kind of plot, but the movie is warm-hearted enough that love is really the big winner.
Grade: Two stars
“The Tomorrow War” (Amazon Prime)
“The Tomorrow War” is not a good movie. More importantly, it’s not even an entertaining movie.
Instead, it’s what would happen if you had a computer read the script of every sci-fi war movie from the last 20 years then told it to write its own. Shoehorn in some random family drama written by that same computer program, then move through all of it like someone trying to complete a checklist within a specified deadline. While the last half hour or so is slightly less painful to watch, that’s simply because it’s ripping off completely different films.
There are a few consistent things about the movie. The CGI is decent — the monsters are the coolest things about the movie — and the cast is all trying their best in the face of impossible odds. Oh, and there’s the weird undercurrent that alternates between being pro-war and anti-war so frequently it gives you whiplash. There’s also an unexpected environmentalist nod at the end, though that might have been purely accidental.
Things do somehow manage to improve during the last half hour, mostly because the war aspect is completely abandoned. It’s still not actually good by any stretch of the imagination, but there are flashes of humor and it’s no longer physically painful to watch. Of course, it’s also the vastly stupider “Alien” remake no one asked for, but by this point in the movie I assure you you’ll take what you can get.
Grade: One star
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.