Australian Council on Children and the Media

Boss Baby, The

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Not recommended under 5 (scary scenes); parental guidance 5-8 due to possibly scary scenes and themes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Boss Baby, The
  • a review of Boss Baby, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 27 March 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to scary scenes
Children aged 5-8 Parental guidance recommended due to themes
Children aged 8 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Boss Baby, The
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Very mild themes
Length 97 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Boss Baby is a 3D animated comedy based on a 2010 picture book of the same title. Narrated by a man named Tim Templeton (Tobey Maguire), it follows the story of seven-year-old Tim (voice of Miles Christopher Bakshi) as he struggles to adapt to the new addition to his family. Although he previously had the unflinching attention of both his parents (Lisa Kudrow and Jimmy Kimmel), the arrival of the Boss Baby (Alec Baldwin) creates chaos in his once stable world as the suit-wearing, briefcase-carrying baby brother begins taking over the household.

Eventually, Tim realises that his brother isn't actually a regular child - rather, he is a special agent from BabyCorp HQ tasked to complete an espionage mission at Tim's parents’ company. With more people buying puppies than those electing to have babies, BabyCorp are beginning to panic, and if Boss Baby can discover what has been going on, promotions and accolades await him. However, he needs Tim's help and the two must learn to work together to achieve the end goal. 

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Sibling rivalry; family; espionage

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is very limited violence in the film, but it may worry young children. It includes:

  • Scenes where dart guns are fired.
  • A loved stuffed toy animal is beheaded. This is played for comedy.
  • Two characters slap and hit each other several times throughout the film - also done in a comedic manner.
  • There are chase sequences throughout the film where characters are fearful and running away from evil villains, and scenes where they are captured also.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Children in this age group may be scared by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Some of the younger children in this age group may find some scenes scary

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern in the film, but possible tie-in merchandise

Sexual references

Nothing of concern, although some parents may wish to discuss what the film has to show about where babies come from.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • A baby’s bare bottom
  • Women wear revealing clothing at a bachelorette party

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Two young boys are served champagne when on a plane trip to Las Vegas.
  • There are references to a young character having tried a Long Island Iced Tea (a cocktail) and disliking it.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • poop; fart; doody

In a nutshell

The Boss Baby is a film that speaks to the infinite quality of family love and people's capacity to care for multiple individuals in their life. Although children may hold concerns that the appearance of a new sibling might reduce the attention they receive from their parents, there is often no limit on the amount of love that can be offered and shared. The movie also strongly emphasises the significance of working together as a team, and being open to changing one's initial opinion of someone.

Children under 5 may find some scenes scary, and there are scenes and themes to discuss with children over 5.

 

This movie could give parents the opportunity to discuss concerns around sibling jealousy and the complex relationship parents may have with their children. Parents may also wish to discuss the nature of the business world as shown in the film, and questions of whether being competitive and ruthless have worthwhile or damaging consequences. 

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