Cert – PG, Run-time – 1 hour 47 minutes, Director – Tom McGrath
Distant brothers Tim (James Marsden) and Ted (Alec Baldwin) are transformed into their younger selves to investigate the actions of the mysterious principal (Jeff Goldblum) of a new advanced, high-tech school.
2017’s The Boss Baby was a film with plenty of obviousness. However, it was a success and therefore a sequel has arrived. But, in terms of this sequel perhaps the most obvious thing is the fact that, when looking at the credits, of course Gary Barlow wrote the main song Together We Stand. There are certainly still elements of predictability within Family Business, and indeed not every joke lands, but with even one chuckle it has more of a success rate than the original film.
Brothers Tim (James Marsden) and Ted (Alec Baldwin) have grown up and apart since we last saw them. Tim is happily a stay-at-home dad to his two daughters, Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) and baby Tina (Amy Sedaris), while Ted is fittingly the billionaire CEO of a major business. In many ways Tabitha is growing up to be more like her uncle, formal and pushing forward with serious matters. It contrasts with what is branded as her own father’s ‘active imagination’. “I think it’s time we both grow up. I look forward to greeting you at the breakfast table” she states in the manner of a business email exchange rather than a child being put to bed.
Her behaviour is perhaps an effect of the school she attends. A new high-tech school developing advanced, competitive minds run by energetic, yet mysterious, headteacher Dr. Erwin Armstrong (Jeff Goldblum). On seeing Armstrong’s character design, like a tall, bubbly sheep which has been partly shaved to make the knitted jumper it’s wearing, the thought does arise that he doesn’t overly match Goldblum’s mystical tones. It’s a thought that comes to mind a couple of times when the character appears on-screen, gradually fading as more is learned about him and you simply embrace the fact that Jeff Goldblum is a part of this film. Nonetheless he runs a tight ship which Ted and Tim investigate after discovering that Tina is in fact able to talk and ‘in the family business’ by working for Babycorp, who are themselves looking into Armstrong and just what’s happening inside the school. Thus, after agreeing to take on the mission, the brothers set aside their differences to transform into their younger selves for 48 hours so they can feed back.
Unlike the first film Ted is much less in the spotlight here. There’s much less reference to his pretentious nature and those of which there is manages to raise a mild chuckle on one or two occasions. While the relationship between the brothers is certainly a focus for the film the narrative feels tighter and much more about the mission at hand, and indeed Tabitha. Tim’s younger self watches her excel in class while being made fun of by other, jealous, students attempting to spoil her performance at the upcoming Christmas pageant. Overall the film doesn’t feel as lazy as the 2017 feature. While it might not be anything overly brilliant it’s certainly not dreadful and makes for watchable, mildly amusing content. Providing enough chuckles and exhales of amusement along the way, particularly from Gandalf like Wizard alarm clock Wizzie (James McGrath), to avoid all the humour being a miss.
Initially you’re caught off guard by this and begin to think that it might just be for the time we see Tim as an adult, before he and his sibling ‘shrink’. However, as things continue you’re able to properly settling into them and simply become able to enjoy the film and get slightly caught up with its flow. Things might seem slightly slotted and taped together at times, mostly for when linking from scene to scene, or rather location to location, but there’s still some amusement to be found. The laughs might not be in abundance, although there are still some scattered throughout, but generally as The Boss Baby 2: Family Business expands itself and dwells on more than just the one-note gags of the first film, exploring the family dynamic at the centre of this film and the narrative in general, a fairly likeable course is set out that provides enough amusement for the run-time and makes for a pleasant enough watch.
Expanding both in terms of character and narrative from the first film The Boss Baby 2: Family Business strikes thanks to feeling generally less lazy and, even if slightly, more detailed. Providing fine amusement, and one or two chuckles along the way, for the duration of the run-time.