PROMOTION PALS is an ongoing series where two life-long pals, W. Logan Freeman and Anders Croft, experience corporate promotional schemes for new Hollywood releases and review them alongside the movie.
Welcome back to Promotion Pals! This month we consumed Dreamworks new animated film, THE BOSS BABY (2017), a rousing family tale starring Stephen Baldwin’s infamous brother — that dratted boy, Alec — alongside Tobey “Tiger-Man” Maguire, late night host Jimmy Kimmel (Fallon?) (Carson?), and… Lisa Kudrow.
For today’s review we are stepping up the video portion of Promotion Pals with the launch of our fully integrated YouTube show: PROMOTION PALS PRESENTS. That’s right, dear readers, you’re gunna see a couple changes ‘round these part! In summary, after our successful Indiegogo campaign (100,000 BTC) we have invested in state of the art equipment! A full resolution 4K camera rig. An array of expensive microphones and editing suites. A full production crew! The whole kit and caboodle needed to help us keep up with the demand for more Promotion Pals Branded Content™!
To wit, the Promotion Pals are now a property worthy to fill the vacant throne of PewDiePie (Alas poor Felix, we knew thee well…) or the hallowed halls of JonTron Manor. Some new jesters are in town!
For this month’s film, Dreamworks contacted us in hopes to increase the traffic numbers on The Boss Baby, which, frankly, wasn’t tracking well with Millennials. We graciously accepted on one condition:
Send us some product to review, Baby!
Andy: The Boss Baby is one of those rare movies that has me questioning its quality in hindsight.
Logan: I agree. While my feelings during Boss Baby were ones of pure joy — albeit hindered by some uncomfortable intra-character personal dynamics and sexual iconography — the longer I sit on the product the more… confused I am by it.
Andy: Yeah, on that note, I’m just going to put it out here that, if you go see this movie, you’re going to see some real weird shit pertaining to baby ‘beans and cheese’. We were damn close to seeing something that would have floored Boss Baby from 0 to 100 real quick.
Logan: And by something, we mean the penetration of a baby’s sphincter by a phallic symbol… But all of this, dare I say it, infantile sexual humor is only made more confounding and disconcerting by the fact that the baby’s body possess an adult consciousness. By creating this dialectical between adult-mind and baby-body the movie, I think unintentionally, forms its own slippery slope that is more than just uncomfortable… it is morally repugnant.
Andy: In one particular sequence, we are exposed to the full view of Boss Baby’s special place with only a block of pixelated censorship bordering between viewer and viper. Considering how close we were to seeing baby junk in the film’s opening sequence (a scene in which naked babies are carted around by bizarre Orwellian machinery), I felt attacked.
Logan: The pixelation can be further unpacked. Throughout filmic history baby genitalia is most often not obscured… As it goes, babies are deemed ‘pure’ by society’s hegemonic norms and thus their privates are not filled with the shame and sin which adult genitalia carries. So through pixelation the film implies the Boss Baby himself is an impure creature… and worse, a sexual being? This all buttressed by the many explicitly sexual utterances the Boss Baby blurts…
Wait, have we said what this movie is about?
Andy: I’m still just thinking about when Boss Baby demanded that his brother put a binky in his mouth and “suck it.” And then said, “Suck it harder!”
Logan: Right. But what the movie is about, dear reader, is —
Andy: It’s about a fucking baby who’s the boss.
Logan: Okay. Moving on.
Andy: I’ll say one thing this movie gets real fucking right: It has an insanely specific art style that harkens back to the same balls-to-the-wall style of classic Looney Tunes cartoons. There’s something very surreal about the pictures you see in here which are accentuated by the main character’s active imagination.
Logan: I agree. While I felt the character design overall is sort of bland in that Megamind-Dreamworks way, they did absolutely tap into some very inspired retro design. It felt like an old ‘toon telling you to provide to the war effort or a reel teaching you to remain abstinent.
Andy: Thinking back, there’s some real scary stuff in here. I recall from our viewing that we both screamed aloud when this monstrous figure appeared dressed in a very Shining-esque dog costume.
Logan: There is not a doubt in my mind that that horrific creature was a direct homage to the blowjob-giving Shining dog… This actually leads into one of my biggest complaints about the movie. The abject terror of that dog was so bone shaking that when the man underneath was revealed, I was not so much afraid as disappointed. Worse still was how the character devolved into a long joke about how it is ‘funny’ when male-presenting individuals don what is considered ‘women’s-garb.’
Andy: Yeah, that character starts to suck real bad when the dog costume is cast aside. He’s a caricature that fits in only the most base form of entertainment. Also can we talk about the bizarre casting for the film? Both Tobey Maguire and Steve Buscemi are under utilized and, by and large, unnecessary. Uhm, Hollywood? Let me save ya’ a couple bucks here!
Logan: This might be the first mediocre movie I’ve ever seen that featured Steve Buscemi where afterwards I didn’t immediately say, “Well, at least, Steve Buscemi was good.”
Andy: I’ve never seen The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013) but I can imagine some viewers had that reaction when that came out too.
Logan: But I’ll take it one deeper. How fucking classic is Steve Buscemi in the very mediocre Big Daddy? Having just watched it I’ll say supremely classic. But here Buscemi is given an unbelievable character that the man simply cannot work his magic on. His character, Francis E. Francis, the film’s villain, is pure plotting nonsense existing solely to create conflict. Francis’ whole story is that he got fired from BabyCorp — in this movie there is a whole society of eternal ‘Boss Babies’ by the way — and to take revenge he devotes his life to creating a forever puppy that will take away from the net-amount of love babies as a whole receive worldwide…
Andy: Can I just ask something?
Logan: Of course!
Andy: Why the fuck was this movie even made? Who is this for?
Logan: It was made to increase the net amount of money in Dreamworks’ bank account by stretching an admittedly amusing concept to feature length. LMAO.
Andy: Oh yeah, that’s the other thing about Boss Baby… it was literally pushed back years and years because better shit kept coming out. Do I hear an aye for Kung Fu Panda 3, anyone? Fact of the matter is that this film is out of touch, out of mind with the only thread of attraction being this over-the-top art style that is every sense of the word bonkers.
Also I’m convinced it’s the production delays of this film that convinced the formerly attached Kevin Spacey to do Nine Lives (2016).
Logan: You think after all those years the message would be more clear. Ostensibly this is a movie about a capitalist realizing the need for family but at the end that seems not so certain. Sure, the Boss Baby gives up his corner office — and adult consciousness — to grow up alongside his ‘brother,’ but in the flash-forward he is still the same money-throwing, suit-wearing, one-percenter. Is the indictment then not at the system but at the individual? If so: STOOOOOOPID.
Anyways, here’s a picture of Mini Moose. That is my rating. Blow me.
Andy: Dare I say it… this is a hot take in the making!
Andy: Is The Boss Baby part of the American experience? I’ll never know. Anyways, I give this film a very hesitant 30% in my pie chart.
Logan: Boss Baby is more than just part of the American experience, it is the embodiment of the American Dream. An entertaining idea that has its moments but is ultimately tragically flawed… almost by design. I reserve 35% of my pie chart to The Boss Baby.
The Boss Baby
dir. Tom McGrath
Now playing… Everywhere!