• by Wes Singleton

The Boss Baby, C

Rated PG, 97 minutes

The new animated film "The Boss Baby" is as charming and messy as an infant. Sprinkled with some good lines and fun moments, young kids will likely enjoy it the most, as much of its sitcomy shenanigans seem like filler and could've easily been resolved within 30 minutes.

Seven-year old Tim Templeton (Miles Bakshi) is jealous of his fast-talking, briefcase-carrying baby brother named the "Boss Baby" (Alec Baldwin). When he must win back the affection of his parents (Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow), he finds out about a secret plot by evil CEO Francis E. Francis (Steve Buscemi) he must work together with his baby brother to preserve balance in the world.

Directed by Tom McGrath, who helmed the "Madagascar" movies and also memorably voices the Skipper penguin in those films, and written by Michael McCullers ("Baby Mama"), "The Boss Baby" is a weak Dreamworks Animation effort, in spite of inspired voice casting in Baldwin and Buscemi and some colorful energy. The script's attempt to answer the question of where babies come from - a factory where they're divided into management and families - may provoke some birds and bees questions from the younger set, so parents be ready for that.

The plot for "Boss Baby," which seems like a too-easy set-up for a Nickelodeon cartoon, runs into some issues in the middle and last act, when it veers off into a crazy plot to destroy the world through puppies that stay puppies forever, an unnecessary distraction. There are also some extended scenes of hijinks and goofing off, which only feel like extra padding due to its extremely light plot.

Baldwin is an enjoyable, fun presence as the bossy baby, who throws money instead of throwing tantrums, and listen closely you'll hear Tobey Maguire as the adult narrator of the story. Without Baldwin, "The Boss Baby" would be far worse, and he somehow carries the movie on his tiny shoulders when it loses its footing near the end of the film, that closes with an ultra-gooey, overly sentimental ending.

"The Boss Baby" is a likable, yet forgettable animated effort that will make you very thankful for anything Pixar.

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