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Western Animation / The Boss Baby: Family Business

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"How many Boss Babies can one family hold?"
The Boss Baby: Family Business is a 2021 animated film by DreamWorks Animation, a sequel to 2017's The Boss Baby. It is directed by Tom McGrath.

It's been several years since the events of the first film, and Tim (James Marsden) and Ted Templeton (Alec Baldwin) have become adults and drifted away from each other. Ted has become a hedge fund CEO, while Tim is now a married man and lives in the suburbs with his super-mom wife Carol (Eva Longoria), their super-smart 7-year-old daughter Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt), and super-cute new infant Tina (Amy Sedaris). Tabitha, who's at the top of her class at the prestigious Acorn Center for Advanced Childhood, idolizes her Uncle Ted and wants to become like him, but Tim worries that she's working too hard and is missing out on a normal childhood. When Tina reveals that she's a top-secret agent for BabyCorp on a mission to uncover the dark secrets behind Tabitha's school and its mysterious founder, Dr. Erwin Armstrong (Jeff Goldblum), it will reunite the Templeton brothers in unexpected ways, leading them to re-evaluate the meaning of family and discover what truly matters.

The film was released on July 2nd, 2021 in cinemas and on Peacock (premium tiers), the latter for a 60-day period.

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2

Provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Dye-Job: Tina had blonde hair at the end of the first movie, but now has brown hair.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Ted gave Tabitha a miniature pony named Precious. Tim resents him because it reminds him of how much Tabitha seems to like his brother more than him; Precious, in turn, isn't too fond of Tim.
    • After the first day of school, Precious is threatening harm on Tim, so he points out that there's a pony about. All of the girls at school mob the beast.
  • All Part of the Show: The man in the movie theater when Precious bursts through the screen thinks it's part of the 3-D Movie he's watching. Even when he's caught up in the chase and dragged along, he still thinks the mayhem around him is just very immersive special effects.
  • Big Bad: Dr. Erwin Armstrong, who runs the Acorn Centers and is secretly plotting to overthrow parents and lead a baby revolution.
  • Black Comedy Burst: The school pageant in the third act of the movie starts off very innocent, with the kids singing about the joys of winter. Then they bring up the climate change, and how fire will melt all the ice and snow away. Ted Sr. and Janice are quick to lampshade how the play turned sinister all of a sudden.
  • Brainy Baby: Along with Tina and all the Baby Corp. babies, there's Erwin Armstrong, who has passed himself off as an adult educator and is planning a baby revolution.
  • Cant Get Away With Nothing: Tim needs to be at Dr. Armstrong's office at 11:30, but is in the middle of a class. First he asks to go to the bathroom, but Armstrong had one installed in the classroom. Next he tries to act like a delinquent so he gets sent to the office, but instead he gets sent to a sensory deprivation chamber to cool down.
  • Chekhov's Gun: At the beginning of the movie, Tim attempts to help his daughter Tabitha with her candy volcano project, but it goes wrong and makes a big mess. At the climax of the movie, after Tim pulling the fire alarm to stop the parent-brainwashing program doesn't work, Tabitha combines soda with some of Armstrong's Mentos candy, making a big mess that finally shuts down the server.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Tim reveals in the opening sequence that Jimbo and Staci, Ted's baby associates from the first movie, are married now. He's the mayor, while she's the one actually running things.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: Tim is afraid his parents will recognize him as a child and blow his cover. He hopes the fact that he now wears glasses is enough of a difference so that they won't catch on, and sure enough, it is.
  • Company Cross References:
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Dr. Erwin Armstrong to Francis E. Francis. While both are a Corrupt Corporate Executive, they have different plans. Francis E. Francis wanted to wipe out Baby Corp in retaliation for firing him for something that wasn’t his fault to begin with, thus wanting to eliminate babies; while Armstrong wants babies to be the dominant power and has a dislike for parents. Francis was an adult while Armstrong was a baby pretending to be an adult (though Francis regressed to an infant at the end of the first movie). Also, while Francis's defeat ended with him going to be taught right by his brother Eugene, Armstrong reformed on his own accord and went back to live with his parents.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The only punishment for misbehavior at the Acorn Center is confinement to a pod meant to be superficially relaxing, with a holographic recreation of a beach at sunset while Orinoco Flow plays on loop. Everyone is shocked when Tim gets charged with a session, and it's illustrated why when the previous kid given that punishment leaves whimpering "sail away, sail away, sail away" to himself. Becomes a lot more serious at the climax, where the soothing fountain inside turns it into a Drowning Pit.
  • Darkest Hour: Dr. Armstrong sets a trap for Tim and Ted and traps them in a flooding room, and Tabitha runs off crying since her father apparently missed her singing solo. But after Tim and Ted resolve their differences, Ted summons Precious to break them out of the flooding room, and Tina reveals herself as a Boss Baby to Tabitha so Tina and Tabitha can work together to stop Dr. Armstrong's plan.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Tim singing "If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out" by Cat Stevens to teach Tabitha how to visualize the lyrics while singing, which is accompanied by them wandering through a surreal landscape of stylized musical motifs.
  • The Faceless: Averted. In the epilogue of the original film, the adult Tim and Ted were only shown from the chest down, due to their younger selves being the main focus. The older versions are now promoted to being the main characters in this sequel, so their faces are fully shown.
  • Foil:
    • Tina is one for Ted. As the Boss Baby in the first film (and, to a lesser extent, as an adult), Ted was all business, finding family to be a useless distraction; part of his character arc was realizing the importance of family. Tina, on the other hand, believes in a balance between work and family, thinking of her job at Baby Corp. as "a side hustle." At the end, she tells Tim and Ted that getting them together was her real mission, stopping Armstrong was just a bonus.
    • Tina is also a foil to Erwin Armstrong. Armstrong is a Brainy Baby who believes that parents are responsible for all that is wrong with the world, and thinks everything would be better without them. Tina, who genuinely loves her parents, makes him realize that while he doesn't need parents to be successful, he does need them to be loved.
  • Fountain of Youth: Tina explains that Baby Corp has a formula that turns grown-ups back into babies for 48 hours. While Ted is able to take enough to turn back into a baby, Tim only gets enough to turn into his seven-year-old self from the first movie.
  • Funny Background Event: While Tim is talking to Tabitha and Carol after the first day of school, Precious can be seen in the background running away from the mob of kids.
  • Grand Finale: Subtly implied, as Tim notes in his opening narration that these events are "the rest" of his story. The film ends with the adult Tim and Ted finally reconciling for good, providing an ending for their character arcs that began with the original film.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Nathan, one of the kids in Tabitha's class, is envious of her because she keeps beating him in the class rankings. Later, when Tabitha is having trouble singing for her upcoming solo role in the pageant, one of the other children offers to take Tabitha's place, but Nathan insists on keeping Tabitha as the singer just so he can take pleasure in seeing her fail.
  • Groin Attack: Tim is subjected to this again, albeit by accident this time, as Ted headbutts him in the privates as they scramble to get dressed before heading out to school.
  • Heel Realization: Watching all the children reunite with their parents, Erwin realizes it was wrong to leave his parents and that he misses their love. He moves back to them at the end of the movie.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Tabitha's singing is loud and screechy. One session with Tim and she is somehow able to sing beautifully.
  • The Hero: Tina takes this role in the movie. She intends to get Tim and Ted back together, and to foil Dr. Armstrong's scheme to overthrow parents and lead a baby revolution.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Dr. Armstrong spends the movie constantly eating candy and sweets, and this is indirectly what ends up foiling his plan, as Tabitha is able to combine his candy with soda to make a big mess that short-circuits and shuts down his parent-brainwashing program.
  • How Many Fingers?: Baby Tina asks Tim how many fingers she's holding up after he faints upon learning she is a Boss Baby and can talk. He answers "Thursday?"
  • Jerkass: Nathan, one of the children in Tabitha's class, is obsessed with being number one in the class rankings, and spends most of his screen-time taking verbal potshots at Tabitha since she does better than him in class. Furthermore, when another child offers to take Tabitha's place in the pageant since Tabitha is having trouble singing, Nathan insists on keeping Tabitha in the pageant just so he can watch his academic rival fail.
  • Just Whistle: Ted is able to summon Precious by whistling, no matter where he might be.
  • Lonely at the Top: Ted admits this at the end of the memo he sends to Tim, which is why he now plans to spend more time with them.
  • Magic Pants: When the reverse aging formula finally wears off, Tim and Ted revert back to adults but their clothes fit for kids becomes skintight instead of being torn to shreds.
  • Missed the Bus: Tina organizes a school bus to take Tim and Ted to the Acorn Center, but they both oversleep and miss it. The brothers then have to ride on Precious, which causes widespread destruction all throughout town.
  • Mobile-Suit Human: How Armstrong is able to pass as an adult. In the climax, Tina commandeers one of his spare suits to fight him.
  • Monkeys on a Typewriter: Dr. Armstrong acknoledges this concept, and has taken it to its extreme with hundreds of babies coding and creating marketable phone apps to finance his company.
  • Mr. Imagination: Though he's now an adult, Tim is still just as highly imaginative as he was in his childhood, playing along with his two girls, depicted (as in the first film) as highly stylized Imagine Spots. This quirk is deconstructed in a later scene, where Tim (as his disguised child self) has to listen to his family discussing how his "Tim Time" tends to make him a little out of touch with reality, especially when it comes to special events.
  • Mugged for Disguise: To get himself and Tim inside the Acorn Center, Ted attracts two students with a trail of money, then ambushes them for their uniforms. The two students are too glad to get the money to care.
  • My God, You Are Serious!: Ted tells Baby Tina that you have to climb that corporate ladder until you're the last baby standing at the top.
    Tina: Actually, I prioritize a good work-life balance and a positive environment where my ideas are valued.
    Ted: (laughs raucously) Oh, you're serious.
  • Naked People Are Funny: As a result of taking the new formula, Ted and Tim become too small to fit their adult sized clothes and Ted ends up completely naked (although Tim keeps his underwear), to Tina's disgust.
  • Named in the Sequel: Tim's daughters briefly show up at the end of the first film, but their names aren't mentioned then. Here, they are named Tabitha and Tina.
  • Pet's Homage Name: It’s an indication of Tabitha’s bright nature that she has a goldfish called Hawking.
  • Recorded Spliced Conversation: When Tim refuses to call Ted for Tina's mission, she takes the conversation they just had and creates a voice mail about Tabitha falling off her pony, causing Ted to rush over.
  • Scenery Censor: After Ted reverts to being a baby and gets too small for his clothes, his crotch is always covered up by props.
  • Self-Deprecation: Tabitha says that Tim’s stories about his childhood (in other words, the plot of the first movie) don’t make much sense. When he asks if she thought the jokes were funny, she replies with “meh”.
  • Sequel Hook: While this movie puts an end to Tim and Ted's story, Carol intercepts a call from Baby Corp. on Tina's toy phone in the epilogue, suggesting that a third installment could involve her.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: Once Tim and Ted take the formula, their adult-sized clothes quickly become baggy and eventually oversized on their shrinking bodies.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Masters of the Universe. Tina and Ted use Castle Greyskull as a stand in for the school when they're Planning with Props. Wizzie (Tim’s old alarm clock) has his missing right arm replaced with He-Man's, complete with sword, and is shown to become friends with a Skeletor action figure, even taking a selfie with it in the epilogue.
    • The song "Time Warp" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show plays when Tim and Ted transform into their younger selves.
  • Sinister Sweet Tooth: Dr. Erwin Armstrong, the Big Bad, is seen eating lots of candy and even sugar straight from the bag. This is revealed to be because Armstrong is actually a Brainy Baby plotting a baby revolution.
  • Single-Minded Twins: The triplets from the first movie, who are now motorcycle cops, still act and talk in unison.
  • Soda-Candy 'Splosion: The climax of the film sees Tina and Tabitha use a Mentos and Coke combo to produce a candy lava volcano, which destroys the servers being used by Armstrong to keep the parents as zombies.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Many of the characters now have this.
    • The older Tim, who is no longer The Faceless like he was in the original film, is very similar in appearance to his father, particularly with the glasses he now wears. When eating dinner with the family in his younger form, Tim's cover is almost blown when his mother notes how much he resembles her oldest son.
    • Tabitha has the skin tone and eye colour of her mother Carol, but a similar facial structure to her father Tim. Her resemblance to the latter is especially noticeable when Tim interacts with her in his child form.
    • When Armstrong returns to his parents, we see that his father heavily resembles Armstong's adult disguise, implying that Armstrong was intentionally mimicking his appearance.
  • Sucky School: The Acorn Center, because it's being run by a Brainy Baby who wants to permanently separate babies from their parents and lead a "baby revolution". However, Tim is initially suspicious of Acorn Center simply because it's a school, having not enjoyed school in his own childhood, so Tina reminds Tim that not all schools are bad, just this one.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: Tabitha sings a solo in the pageant noting the importance of standing together rather than growing apart. This song occurs just as Tim and Ted finally forgive each other and reconnect.
  • Time Skip: The Framing Device of the original film is now the main setting in this sequel, focusing on Tim and Ted as grown men.
  • Title Drop: When Tina reveals to her father that she's a Boss Baby, she proudly states that she's in the Family Business.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: A few of the promotional featurettes released before the film revealed that Dr. Armstrong, is actually a baby in disguise, despite this being a major plot twist within the film itself.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Along with Ted returning to his Boss Baby form, he's now joined by his baby niece Tina, being voiced by Amy Sedaris. This also extends to Tim when he takes the new formula, as he physically de-ages back to his childhood appearance from the first film, but still speaks with his adult voice.
  • Would Hurt a Child: When Dr. Armstrong reveals he figured out that Tim and Ted were working together, though he isn't yet aware that they're actually adults in children's bodies. He locks them both in the sensory deprivation room, but the fountain floods the room with water, which would have killed them both if Ted hadn't been able to summon Precious to break them out. Though it's not made clear if Dr. Armstrong intended this or if the fountain malfunctioned.
    • Armstrong also threatens Tabitha and Tina in the final battle.
  • You Can Talk?:
    • This is Tim’s reaction when he first finds out Tina is a Boss Baby.
    • When Ted arrives, he refuses to believe Tim when the latter tries to remind him of Baby Corp., only to have a similar reaction when Tina breaks up their bickering.
      Ted: She can talk!
      Tim: A lot.
    • Tabitha is just as dumbfounded when Tina reveals her secret to her, and suddenly realises that her father's story from the first film was true.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Said word-for-word by Wizzie to stop the brainwashed parents trying to get the heroes. Naturally, no one stops for a toy wizard alarm clock.