여hen Martin Amis was asked if he’d ever consider writing for children, he reportedly answered: “I might, if I had brain damage.” His sniffiness completely disregards the genius it takes to see the world through a kid’s eyes – not something this Boss Baby sequel pulls off with any flair. It is a noisy and nonsensical film, with a pointlessly convoluted plot that sailed over the head of the four-year-old I watched it with. The frantic pace will leave grownups feeling as if they’ve been battered over the head with a brick, or at the very least reaching for the Anadin Extra.
The novelty in the first film of seeing a baby in a business suit with tiny Trump hands, sucking a dummy and voiced by Alec Baldwin, has well and truly worn off. The Boss Baby 2 is set a few decades later: little Ted (Baldwin), the double-espresso-drinking boss baby, is all grown up into a hedge fund CEO. He’s got no time for family – “I can’t do Christmas on the 25th” he says, one of a handful of decent lines snuck in for adults. His big brother Tim (James Marsden) is now a stay-at-home dad with two daughters – and the single flicker of human interest here is Tim’s heartbreak at his preteen Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) growing apart from him.
The film starts with the revelation that Tim’s youngest Tina (Amy Sedaris) is an undercover agent boss baby just like uncle Ted was. Little Tina’s mission is to thwart the world domination plans of evil-doing headmaster (Jeff Goldblum). First she uses an age-reversing potion to turn Tim and Ted back into kids for 48 hours of zany, chaotic and deeply headachy mayhem. Given the calibre of the voice cast, perhaps the biggest disappointment is how humourless the movie is. Baldwin, who did petulant alpha male with such a silly streak in 30 Rock, is no fun at all.