If you don't appreciate Alec Baldwin and all the various characters he has played throughout the years, you will not appreciate Dreamwork's latest animated feature, "The Boss Baby". Baldwin, who was forever immortalized as the greatest actor in the world in "Team America: World Police" (2004), carries the entire preposterous film.


The film is based on the 36-page board book by Marla Frazee that was adapted to screenplay by Michael McCullers ("Mr Peabody & Sherman", "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me") and developed for screen by director Tom McGrath ("Megamind", "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted", "Madagascar"). Somewhere in between a lot of filler was added to stretch the film out to 97-minutes.

The story is narrated by a now grown Tim Templeton (Tobey McGuire) who reflects on how his idyllic home was spoiled by the sudden entrance of a new baby brother named Theodore who enters the scene in a suit and brief case. Immediately a sibling rivalry develops as it is quickly established that Theo is the baby in charge.


Unlike the selfish contemptible personality of Stewie (Family Guy), whose ongoing mission is to try to kill his inferior family, Theo is one a predestined mission from BabyCorp to thwart the missions of Puppy Co's president Francis (Steve Buscemi). Puppy Co has been aggressively moving into BabyCorps' territory and that has to stop.


Theo brings with him every bossy character Baldwin ever personified from his work on 30 Rock, his SNL Trump gaga, to "Glengarry Glen Ross" (1992) and "Malice" (1993). Whether planned or merely coincidental, the Trump "small hands" reference is spot on.

However, there are two things that are fatally wrong with the film. 1) If you are not a fan of Alec Baldwin and familiar with his previous characters, the jokes will shoot over you like a F-15. 2) After about 30 minutes, the movie starts to feel too long; that's about the time you start looking at your watch.


In filling the long blank to make this a feature length film, the story gets bogged down with itself. You can't help but wonder if they ran out of script and became dependent on Baldwin reciting scenes from old projects.


There is a satisfying moral when Tim realizes it's better to work with his baby brother than against him, but it is not an organically achieved lesson; it feels much like an afterthought.


Of the support cast, only Buscemi keeps up with Baldwin, but only for a while. The rest fo the characters are merely one dimensional background filler.


"Boss Baby" is an overlong toon with mediocre animation that is saved by the brilliant energy and spot-on performance of Alec Baldwin. Move over Stewie, there's a new alpha-baby in town!   -- GEOFF BURTON