Boss Baby boffo box-office bodyslams both Beauty and Beast

We’re in a golden age: for parenting and grand-parenting that is. If you’re taking a child to see a film, they’re now so sophisticated that not only will the child like the film but so will you.

No one will be bored, so it has been decreed.

No wonder that these animated creations make so many millions of dollars, as two films for the young make the film-makers go goo-goo ga-ga all the way to the bank.  And after that sentence (OR after seeing the headline, which is based on one of those cheesy box office reports, more or less as I stated it), I suppose there’s no point denying that I have a weakness for alliteration.

When I first heard that a film was being made with the title The Boss Baby and using Alec Baldwin’s voice, I wondered if this might be an offshoot of his Saturday Night Live portrayals of Donald Trump.

Of course that’s a crazy idea. Animated films take years to conceive & organize, requiring hundreds of animators to assemble the eventual result. Brilliant as this film is –and funny—it couldn’t be as recent as Baldwin’s creation of Trump for SNL. There’s even an unforgettable moment when the baby is playing golf, and informs us that the key to management is to delegate, as he watches someone else do all the work. That sure reminded me of the POTUS.

But let’s forget all that. Truth be told, Trump is like the dark shadowy figure in every Rorschach inkblot, the thing we fear that serves to explain almost everything. If he didn’t exist we’d have to invent him, but lucky for us, he burst on the scene like that drunk relative at your last wedding who refused to shut up and had to be dragged away by security.

No, this film is a surprise even though I should have seen it coming. I’m reminded of two amazing animated films, each with an unpretentious title packing an unexpected emotional wallop to your solar plexus. I’m thinking of Inside Out and Kubo and the Two Strings , both hugely successful films enjoyed by children that could be admired in an entirely different way by adults.

I won’t go deep in the analysis, other than to say: it’s deeper than it looks. It’s not at all what it seems. And that’s to be understood as a compliment, to suggest that this is a very good film.  Yes it has all sorts of political overtones.  But a child can enjoy it without knowing any of that.

I’m looking forward to seeing Beauty & the Beast one of these days.

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