The Mummy – Film Review

Curse the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ever since a smug Tony Stark and his team of leather-clad meatbags took over the world with an outrageously entertaining series of interlocking movie franchises, studio execs across the multiverse have been racing to kick-start their own interconnected cash cow.

Universal’s The Mummy is just the latest to leap onto the super-powered bandwagon. Aiming to lump together classic movie monsters – Frankenstein, the Invisible Man, Dracula – into what’s been unimaginatively dubbed the Dark Universe, this reboot of a reboot has the unenviable task of delivering a high octane summer blockbuster that can compete with the established heavy hitters while also setting up a whole new world where well-known literary monsters actually exist. It’s hardly surprising, then, that this speedy hatchet job most closely resembles something cooked up in the lab of Dr Jekyll (here played by apparent Ray Winstone impersonator Russell Crowe): a mind-boggling miss-mash of competing personalities that can never work together as a satisfying whole.

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Things start off in promising fashion. Opening with a lively sequence in which Tom Cruise’s Indian Jones-type rogue Nick Morton is found fleeing ISIS gunfire after liberating a precious antiquity from the terror group’s Iraqi stronghold. The grace of a US military airstrike saves Morton from certain death and also uncovers the hidden tomb of Amhanet (Sofia Boutella), an Egyptian princess buried alive after selling her soul to the evil god Set in return for power.

Despite the obvious warning signs (Amhanet’s tomb is submerged in mercury and guarded by giant spiders), Morton and ambitious archeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) extract the sarcophagus and prepare to transport it back to Blighty (lord knows we love a stolen artefact). Naturally, events quickly take a turn for the worst when the plane is bombarded by a swarm of angry crows, causing a crash that seemingly kills Cruise’s character mere minutes into the movie he supposedly leads. And that’s where things start to get really weird…

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The Mummy’s biggest problem is that it can never quite decide what it wants to be. In part, it’s a zombie horror movie, with Boutella’s resurrected queen feeding on unsuspecting humans to regenerate her decomposed body and using her nebulous powers to recruit an army of the undead to aid her ascension to power. But it’s also a brisk and breezy action adventure, complete with plenty of daring set pieces, as Cruise sets about locating a set of mystical McGuffins that will save the world. And most strangely, the plot occasionally veers into vengeful-ex-girlfriend/phsycho-thriller territory as Ahmanet, for reasons unexplained, seeks to use Morton as a replacement vessel to bring Set into the world of the living. Because none of these elements gel together, the movie swings wildly between tones and style, which results in bizarre scenes, such as Tom Cruise debating with an imaginary zombie while stood in the ladies room of a traditional English pub.

It’s Cruise who looks most uncomfortable with this arrangement. We all know he’s well-equipped to play the charming-but-reckless action hero, but his status as the a-typical all-American hero makes it near impossible to accept him as a morally conflicted scoundrel who may well sell out the human race to ensure his own survival. Boutella is a much better fit as Ahmanet. A subtle mix of seductive and deadly, Boutella fully embodies the role of a manipulative, power-hungry empress who’ll stop at nothing to regain power. The only disappointment is that the narrative so often reduces Boutella to a clingy ex-girlfriend as she spend much of her screen time chasing after Cruise in the hope he will help Ahmanet achieve her destiny. Wallis, meanwhile, is lumbered with a rote damsel in distress role, required only to give Morton a reason to reveal his good side.

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It’s not entirely joyless, of course. Director Alex Kurtzman delivers several well-mounted set-pieces – including an underwater escape through the catacombs beneath London that’s breathlessly tense – and there’s a cheeky vein of deadpan humour which prevents proceedings from feeling too po-faced. Yet any momentum that’s been built up comes grinding to a halt when Crowe’s Jekyll, here cast as the untrustworthy head of a secret organisation designed to link the film series together, rocks up to spout endless exposition about Egyptians, the Crusades and some guff about magical McGuffins buried beneath the Jubilee Line. This is the fatal flaw in trying to rush through building a cinematic universe, rather than allowing it to evolve naturally. The entire plot has to stop to allow Crowe to put the action into context. It’s attention-sapping stuff and no amount of Crowe’s cockney-geezer interpretation of Hyde tossing Cruise around like a soggy chew toy can get it back on track.

None of this is necessarily ruinous for the Dark Universe – after all, the DCEU recently overcame a faltering start to deliver one of the most popular blockbusters of the year. And with The Bride of Frankenstein, a Van Helsing reboot and a Johnny Depp-starring Invisible Man movie all looming on the horizon, Universal will have plenty of opportunities to tweak their formula. If they can just figure out what they want this universe to be, there’s plenty of fun to be had in this frightening new world of gods and monsters.

Runtime: 107 mins

Director: Alex Kurtzman

Screenwriters: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, Dylan Kusshen

Stars: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis

Wonder Woman – Film Review

We’re all agreed Gail Gadot’s Wonder Woman was the best thing about DC’s dour and dispiriting man-spat Dawn of Justice. Amid all the grim soul searching, moody visuals and bludgeoning SFX work, Gadot’s Amazonian goddess strode into view like an ass-kicking, lasso-whipping electric cello riff in human form to brighten up the darkest of hours for DC’s faltering superhero universe. It’s little wonder there’s been so much excitement and goodwill surrounding Diana Prince’s first solo outing. And we haven’t even mentioned the fact that it’s the first female-led (and, with Monster’s Patty Jenkins behind the camera, female-directed) superhero movie.

Feminist triumphs aside, though, Wonder Woman feels like a missed opportunity. While it’s undoubtedly the best movie of the DCEU thus far, brightening the tone and demonstrating a stronger handle on its core characters, it’s still plagued by many of the issues that have held previous DC movies back: over earnestness, mind-numbing action, and a slogging origin story that’s framed around a messy, wildly preposterous plot.

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Having already been introduced as an experienced, battle hardened warrior in the present day, Wonder winds the clock back to Diana’s picturesque childhood on Themyscira, the hidden island of the Amazons. This tribe of athletic, gold-plated female warriors live in a bubble, protected from the corruption of man, as they prepare for the prophesised return of Ares, the Greek god who plans to wage an endless war to destroy humanity. And then Chris Pine’s charismatic American spy washes up on shore, bringing with him a flotilla of German soldiers, and tells of a horrifying war raging in the outside world. After one of the most bizarre action sequences of modern times – a slow-mo beachfront battle between pirouetting women and gun-totting men – Diana decides to defy her mother’s wishes, stealing her trademark sword, shield and lasso before setting sail for the world of men to stop the war once and for all.

As Diana, Gadot is extraordinary. Dawn of Justice proved she has the youthful athleticism to stand toe-to-toe with Henry Cavill’s Superman and Ben Affleck’s pumped-up Caped Crusader, but Wonder gives her a chance to explore the nuances of an impulsive, idealistic young warrior who has a disarming belief in doing the right thing. Gadot infuses Diana’s sweet innocence with a ferocious defiance that helps to keep the more hokey moments in the script from sounding too goofy. She’s funny, too, especially during the fish-out-of-water scenes in a civilised London where she attempts to tackle a revolving door armed with a shield and sword.

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Using World War I as the backdrop for a highly-stylised action movie might make some people uncomfortable. Yet it allows Jenkins and screenwriter Allan Heinberg to explore themes of feminism, oppression and the evil that men inflict upon each other. It also neatly sidesteps the issue of needing to find a villain capable of facing-off against a near-indestructible warrior created by Zeus, by making Diana’s unshakable belief in the power of good the thing that’s tested rather than her physical prowess. Jenkins sensitively captures the devastation of the conflict, bringing a grim tangibility to scenes of wounded soldiers and bloodied refugees trudging though the mud and charred remains of their former lives.

With so many positives here, it’s a shame the movie is hobbled by a clunking, sloppy script. Like Thor, this is supposed to be a story about a naive demigod coming to terms with the harsh realities of the world. Instead, much of the focus is on a clumsy love story between Diana and Pine’s Steve Trevor. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of romance, but its use here only serves to sideline Diana for much of her own movie. With no experience of the modern world, she’s largely useless once we’ve left Themyscira, which means Steve steps into the valiant hero role, leading the mission to stop the war and making the noble sacrifice that saves the world. Diana is essentially his MPDG, using her optimistic innocence to undercut his early cynicism so that he can find his inner hero. It’s hardly a fair dynamic, especially when you consider she has the power to break him like a twig.

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It’s also poorly structured, spending far too much time milling around Themyscira and period-era London despite events there having very little to do with the actual plot – which involves stopping Elena Anaya’s intriguing but underused German scientist and Danny Houston’s military chief using a deadly gas to prevent the armistice agreement. That leaves no time to explore Diana’s world view, which goes unchallenged for much of the movie, as we rush towards yet another weightless, overblown finale where two CGI beings levitate at each other. Wonder Woman might be a Diana Prince-sized leap in the right direction for the DCEU, but it still has a lot to ground to make up if it wants to match the sparkling triumphs of its Marvel peers.

Runtime: 141 mins

Director: Patty Jenkins

Scriptwriter: Allan Heinberg

Stars: Gail Gadot, Chris Pine, David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Danny Houston

Baywatch – Film Review

There was hope Baywatch would be another meta-infused, smart-yet-silly TV show remake in the mould of the Jump Street movies. Sadly, this hackneyed reboot doesn’t even come close to matching the admittedly high bar set by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Instead, it takes everything beloved about one of the 90s’ cheesiest guilty pleasures – the stunning beach vistas, mild peril and, yes, bouncing boobs – and drowns them in a tidal wave of confused plotting, clunky one-liners and clanging stupidity.

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One-man charisma machine Dwayne Johnson is our David Hasselhoff surrogate, playing overzealous guardian of the sands Mitch Buchannon, who leads a crack team of impossibly attractive lifeguards tasked with saving lives on what has to be the most dangerous stretch of beach in the world. Needing to repair the division’s public image in order to secure extra funding, Mitch is forced to recruit obnoxious Olympian Matt Brody (Zac Efron), a disgraced pro-swimmer whose party boy antics earned him the nickname The Vomit Comet (and, yes, he does throw up in this movie. Twice.). Together with the rest of Mitch’s team, who appear so infrequently they’re barely worth a mention, they attempt to take down a nefarious drug dealer who’s responsible for a number of dead bodies that keep washing up on shore.

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The movie is at it’s best when it’s sending up the inherently ridiculous concept of lycra-clad lifeguards fighting crime. A slick opening rescue mission, which ends with Johnson’s Mitch striding out of the ocean, a prone wind-surfer in his arms, as the title splashes down behind him in giant, gaudy letters is the standout sequence; but there’s also some decent gags aimed at the TV show’s signature use of slow-mo and a clever repurposing of actual plotlines for some of the team’s previous investigations. Disappointingly, such zingers are few and far between as the filmmakers seem to be torn between making a whip-smart spoof of the TV show or a more straightforward comedy about the importance of teamwork. It ends up doing neither particularly well.

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Without a clear focus, screenwriters Damian Shannon and Mark Swift resort to relying on weak put-downs (“Bath time, shit head.”), boner gags, and occasional attempts at edginess which actually come across as tasteless missteps (“You’re like the Stephen Hawking of swimming, without the paralysis part.”). Don’t expect the story to offer much respite, though. The half-baked plot, which sees Priyanka Chopra’s sultry villainess scheming to privatise the beach so that she can sell drugs in the place she’s already selling drugs, is the kind of sub-CSI gubbins that would barely fill an episode of the TV series, and so inevitably feels overstretched for a two-hour movie. Add to that a bunch of peril-free set-pieces, not-so-surprise cameos from Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson (they’re right there in the opening titles) and obvious plot twists with all-too-easy resolutions, and you’ve got a movie flapping helplessly in the water, without even a lifesaver to cling on to.

Runtime: 116 mins (approx.)

Director: Seth Gordon

Screenwriters: Damian Shannon, Mark Swift

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Priyanka Chopra

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge – Film Review

It’s easy to forget the unexpected success of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Based on a simple theme park ride and starring an uninspiring collection of over-the-hill actors and fresh-faced unknowns, The Curse of the Black Pearl took everyone by surprise, birthing a ginormous franchise with its wildly exhilarating, raucously bonkers tale of double-crossing, yet cheekily heroic, pirates, all powered by a mesmerising lead performance by a resurgent Johnny Depp.

After three sequels of rapidly sinking quality, Salazar’s Revenge is an ambitious bid to recapture some of that anarchic spark and spirit. And while it doesn’t quite reach the swashbuckling heights of the original movie, it’s an exuberant return to form for the long-running series that represents one of the few pleasant surprises during an otherwise dispiriting summer blockbuster season.

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The introduction of some new blood to the cast certainly helps to liven things up a bit. In a snappy and moving pre-credits sequence, we’re introduced to a 12-year-old Henry Turner who’s searching the world for a way to free his father from the curse that has trapped him aboard the Flying Dutchman. We then skip ahead nine years to find a manly Henry locked away in the brig of a burning ship that’s under attack by an army of undead pirates, led by Javier Bardem’s seethingly evil Captain Salazar.

The one-time ruthless pirate hunter forces Henry to help him escape eternal purgatory inside the Devil’s Triangle so that he can seek revenge against the man who put him there: the infamous Captain of the Black Pearl, Jack Sparrow. Desperate to rescue his father from his own curse, Henry instead teams up with spirited astronomer Catrina to save Sparrow and track down the mythical Trident of Poseidon, which has the power to free his father.

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Though the plot recycles many plot points familiar to previous outings – the vengeful villain trapped in a death-like state; the two young lovers from opposite sides of the tracks; a quest to find a magical McGuffin with nebulous powers – it goes about retelling them with an unfettered enthusiasm, adventurous spirit and an imaginative love of nautical-based smut, the kind of which has been sorely missing from the series of late.

Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, who landed the job off the back of their wondrously crafted sea-faring adventure Kon-Tiki, also bring some fresh invention to the action set pieces. Standout sequences include a calamitous bank heist (featuring a bank being dragged through a town by horseback), Depp coming perilously close to being beheaded by a gyrating guillotine, and an unsettling encounter with a school of zombie sharks that’s not nearly as naff as it sounds.

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What a shame, then, that nearly all the main characters also happen to be a bunch a lifeless bodies, fruitlessly thrashing around the water with little hope of making a memorable impact on proceedings. Brenton Thwaites’ Henry is the worst served. Having been framed from the start as the hero of the story, as soon as a rum-addled Sparrow staggers onto the scene he’s swiftly forgotten, along with a potentially moving arc about his lifelong mission to reconnect with his absent father. It’s almost like Thwaites was chosen solely because he’s handsome enough to convince as the fruit of Orlando Bloom’s loins.

In fact, Jeff Nathanson’s script is littered with intriguing plot points that infuriatingly fall by the wayside. Sparrow’s dimming hopes of recapturing his past glories, a newly bling Captain Barbossa’s (Geoffrey Rush) reunion with a lost child, the fumbled love affair between Henry and Catrina all seem to get thrown overboard and are never seen again. There’s even an entire Naval fleet that spends the movie chasing after the various motley crews of duelling pirates for absolutely no reason at all.

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Only Kaya Scodelario’s precocious orphan Carina escapes with any credit. Intelligent, courageous and wilfully belligerent to all those around her, Carina is the real driving force of the movie, dragging to rest of this ragtag band of sorry scoundrels along with her as she cracks the long-held secret of the trident’s hiding place. There are many parallels to be drawn between Carina and Keira Knightly’s Elizabeth Swann – both strong women who break out of a patriarchal society – but the latter was often frustratingly sidelined by Depp and Bloom’s frequent sword swinging contests. Here’s hoping Scodelario doesn’t suffer the same fate in future instalments, her talents are not worthy of such treatment.

Because of this fumbled characterisation, we’re simply not persuaded to invest in what’s at stake for our would-be heroes and the finale feels listless and weightless as a result, with moments of heroic triumphs and emotionally devastating losses failing to have the intended impact.

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And that’s disappointing as it dampens what’s otherwise a triumphant return to form for Pirates of the Caribbean. It might not be the most original effort, but Salazar’s Revenge recaptures much of the simplicity and charm of the first movie, without skimping on the invention and silliness. Although further sequels are by no means guaranteed, even in this era of cookie-cutter follow-ups, there’s plenty on show here to suggest this swashbuckling franchise is far from sunk.

Runtime: 129 mins

Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg

Screenwriter: Jeff Nathanson

Stars: Johnny Depp, Brendan Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Javier Bardem

Country: USA

Star rating: 3/5

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – Film Review

Having gleefully geezerfied Sherlock Homes to unexpectedly thrilling effect, cockney filmmaker Guy Ritchie hopes to pull off a similar trick with this fast-and-loose take on another of England’s legendary heroes. Yet, despite overflowing with the director’s trademark visual brio – there’s enough crash zooms, freeze frames and speed ramping to give you whiplash – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is an unrelenting bore, taking all the best bits from the classic tale and burying them in a mound of overblown set-pieces, confusing supernatural elements and one of the worst celebrity cameos of all time.

The opening scenes, at least, are exhilarating. After swiftly establishing a world where humans are waging war with magical beings known as mages, who have the power to possess the world’s animals, we’re dropped right into the heat of battle as a herd of 350-foot elephants storm the last remaining human stronghold, Camelot. Eric Bana’s King Uther Pendragon makes a valiant last stand, beheading treacherous mage Mordred with the help of his magical sword Excalibur – its chief power seemingly to ignore the existence of gravity – to bring peace to the land.

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The victory celebrations don’t last long, however, as Pendragon’s evil brother Vertigen (Jude Law) does what evil brothers are wont to do, orchestrating the killing of his brother and sister-in-law, and taking the throne for himself. Fortunately for the movie’s runtime, Pendragon’s only heir, Arthur, escapes death and winds up on the streets of Londinium where he’s taken in by a group of kindly prostitutes. Many years later, a fully grown Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) is summoned for his customary encounter with Excalibur, which forces him to go on the run and to team up with a ragtag band of freedom fighters to topple Vertigen’s regime and reclaim his rightful place as King of England.

The movie has its moments where it almost flickers to life. A rapid-fire montage charting Arthur’s rise from penniless brothel urchin to streetwise gang leader is a stunning show of Ritchie’s stylistic panache, while his trademark stunt of having characters recount cheeky escapades amid restless camera movements offers a much-needed injection of energy at times. Yet, the director’s limited bag of tricks can do little to liven up what feels like a relentless trudge through a standard orphan-overthrows-evil-uncle storyline. The plotting is incredibly lazy, trotting out the same old obstacles for Arthur to overcome – he initially rejects his destiny and later suffers a crisis of confidence after an unexpected tragedy. At times it feels like we’re simply treading water, waiting until there’s enough minutes on the clock to justify launching the obligatory CGI bonanza that could’ve been taken from the finale of any of this summer’s blockbusters.

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None of that would necessarily be ruinous if the characters were at least interesting company for 120 minutes. Yet the majority of the cast barely register, many of them being bestowed with laughable cockney nicknames like Kung-fu George and Goosefat Bill in place of actual character development. Meanwhile, Hunnam makes a rather risky choice to play Arthur as one of those unbearably bolshy Essex lads who thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room because he’s ‘from the streets’. Needless to say, the risk doesn’t pay off. There’s even room for an unspeakably awful cameo from Ritchie’s new pal David Beckham, who somehow fails to convince as a menacing cockney despite being born in Leytonstone. Giving your inexperienced mate a speaking role in a big budget movie is bad enough, but the fact that Becks’ appearance undermines a pivotal moment in Arthur’s story is frankly unforgivable. At least Jude Law appears to be enjoying himself. Having seemingly realised the movie’s not worthy of his talents, he simply takes the opportunity to chow down on every piece of scenery in sight while playing slimy big bad King Vertigen.

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Guy Ritchie is hardly known for his narrative dexterity or deep character work, but there’s a minimum expectation that his films will be a relentless ride of incendiary entertainment. Yet even his familiar visual flourishes – whip pans, Tarantino-esque storytelling tricks, macho banter – are beginning to wear thin. You get the feeling that Ritchie knows it, too, as he ramps up the legend’s mystical elements to compensate. Sadly, no amount of slithering sea monsters, trippy psychic possessions, or exotic giant elephants can make up for a creaky and redundant film that’s as unrelentingly dull as King Arthur. The hope was that this movie would launch a six-film franchise to rival Lord of the Rings. Based on this lacklustre effort, you’ll probably get shorter odds on Becks winning a Best Actor Oscar.

Runtime: 126 mins approx.

Director: Guy Ritchie

Screenwriters: Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, Joby Harold

Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Eric Bana, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey

Film [RATING:2]

The first trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi is finally here

We’ve waited. And waited. And waited a little bit more… but the first trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi is finally upon us. And it’s certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Officially unveiled at today’s Last Jedi panel at Celebration Orlando, the new trailer offers our first glimpses into the continuation of Rey, Finn and Poe’s journey, picking up immediately after the events of The Force Awakens.
There’s a lot to take in here, even in the short snippets of footage we get to glimpse. There definitely appears to be dark times ahead for the Resistance. Their bases are under attack, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is on the warpath and what looks to be an almighty space battle looming on the horizon.
Daisy Ridley’s Rey, meanwhile, is continuing her Jedi training with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) – though Luke’s ominous words don’t hold much hope for the future of Force-weilding warriors. “I only know one truth,” he intones. “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” At least we finally know what the movie’s title is referring to.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is written and directed by Looper’s Rian Johnson and will be with us in December.

The Boss Baby – Film Review

Glengarry Glen Ross’ Blake, 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy, SNL’s President Trump… Alec Baldwin has played a mightily impressive collection of petulant, business-obsessed braggarts with more balls than brains during his career. The Boss Baby presents a surprising opportunity to add to his rather niche oeuvre, voicing a tyrannical, suit-wearing baby with tiny hands who causes chaos with his unexpected arrival in a white house. If only the movie itself could match Baldwin’s bravura energy and impeccable comedic timing. Instead, The Boss Baby is a frantic, ill-conceived and only occasionally funny family comedy that preaches the importance of love yet lacks any semblance of a heart.

The story is told through the completely unreliable point of view of imaginative seven-year-old Tim (Miles Bakshi), an only child who spends his days having fun with his parents (Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow) by conjuring wild fantasies in his mind. His blissful childhood crashes to a halt when his parents proudly announce the arrival – by taxi, no less – of Tim’s little brother, the Boss Baby (Baldwin). While his family gush over their new arrival, Tim endeavours to prove to them that the briefcase-carrying tot is not a real baby but a corporate stooge on a secret mission to find out why puppies are stealing all the love in the world and threatening to drive babies out of business.

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There’s an obvious attempt to replicate Toy Story’s mismatched central pairing here, especially when Tim and the Boss Baby are forced to buddy up to save their parents, but this movie lacks the warmth and emotional depth of the Pixar classic. Crucially, director Tom McGrath completely forgets to make his lead characters likeable. We’re supposed to sympathise with Tim because he feels forgotten by his parents, yet by immediately taking against the new arrival before he’s provoked he just comes across as a spoiled brat. The Boss Baby is similarly irredeemable as he attempts to drive a wedge between Tim and his parents even though such a cruel tactic has absolutely no relation to his primary assignment. Even the common goal that ultimately brings them together feels needlessly callous as they team up to send the Boss Baby back to Baby Corp headquarters – a move that would rob Tim’s parents of a child they clearly adore.

It doesn’t help that the movie’s bonkers premise doesn’t hold together either. The Boss Baby is on a mission for Baby Corp, the heavenly factory that squirts out babies to expectant parents, to gather intel on the Forever Puppy, an everlasting pooch designed to wipe out the competition for parental love. We’re initially led to believe this is another of Tim’s flights of fancy, re-imagining the arrival of his baby brother as a hostile corporate takeover in much the same way his bath time becomes a deep sea rescue mission or a bike ride becomes a trip in an out-of-control spacecraft. The idea becomes increasingly convoluted as the screenwriter Michael McCullers struggles to explain how every plot development could be taking place in Tim’s mind and he eventually gives up on the device entirely. All of which forces us to believe there really is a secret baby factory in the sky and that it’s closest competitor is plotting to use puppies to take over the world. Even for a movie aimed at children, that’s pushing the boundaries of credibility a little too far.

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It’s not all bad, of course. There are some clever gags aimed at middle-management culture (even if they’re likely to fly over the heads of younger viewers), Tim’s daydreams are inventively animated and there are a number of exciting set-pieces, including a thrillingly silly car chase soundtracked to the theme of ‘70s cop show S.W.A.T. The problem is that McGrath never manages to harness The Boss Baby’s strongest aspects into a winning product. Instead, he takes a scattershot approach, throwing every possible idea at the screen and hoping enough sticks to make an entertaining movie. Unsurprisingly, such an ill-advised tactic fails to pay dividends.

Runtime: 97 mins; Genre; Animation; Released: 1 April 2017;

Director: Tom McGrath; Screenwriter: Michael McCullers

Stars: Alec Baldwin, Miles Bakshi, Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy Kimmel, Steve Buscemi