The Boss Baby: Christmas Bonus (2022), On Netflix: Ho, ho, ho! It’s that time of the year when there are stockings hung on the fireplace, the smell of gingerbread in the air, the wisps of leftover wrapping paper hanging around, and a sense of family togetherness and generosity. While kids everywhere are amping up for the Christmas season, it’s about time to stock up on your favorite holiday essentials to enliven the Christmas spirit. And Christmas is not the same without the Christmassy movies that you can enjoy snuggling in with your family on the couch. To the vast array of Christmas-themed films, Netflix has unveiled a DreamWorks Animation Christmas special based upon characters from the television series The Boss Baby: Back in Business (2018-2020).
This holiday season, Boss Baby is returning with an all-new special titled The Boss Baby: Christmas Bonus, in which the eponymous grumpy and crusty suit and tie-wearing antihero accidentally swaps places with one of Santa’s elves and gets stranded at the North Pole. The medium-length film spanning 45 minutes opens with Tim Templeton (Pierce Gagnon) indulging in the grand finale of Templeton Christmas Traditions in which he narrates the first Christmas experience of Theodore “Ted” Templeton, aka the Boss Baby (JP Karliak), to his daughters, preteen Tabitha and much younger Tina. Much like the girls now, the sulky and moody Boss Baby hated the Templeton Christmas Traditions and wanted nothing to do with all the holiday trappings that included shocking the elf, making Christmas cards for grandparents, and singing the soulful carols.
In the last attempt to lift the Christmas spirit of Boss Baby, big brother Tim takes him to the mall on Christmas Eve to meet Santa (George Lopez). He is dressed as an elf and strapped up in the back seat of his parent’s car but expresses his disgust and irritation at the idea of taking photos with Santa by throwing away his elf winter cap. Upon arriving at the mall, his brother drags the anti-Christmas Boss Baby by his ankle and finally gets him to sit on Santa’s lap. To Tim’s amazement and surprise, Santa and Boss Baby go way back and recognizes each other instantly. It seems Santa was a former Baby Corp who betrayed everything Baby Corp stands for by poaching half the company for his “toys-for-nothing program” and for “exploiting the baby labor to make toys.”
Things take a turn for the worse when Boss Baby is transported to the North Pole after he accidentally trips into a mail bag at the mall. And Tim brings back home one of the elves Ding Dong Dongle (Ray Chase), superior toymaker of the North Pole, who can turn Ted’s crib into a rocking horse in seconds. While Boss Baby needs to return to his family to celebrate his first Christmas, Dongle needs to return to the North Pole, for he fears “the world will be bombarded with inferior toys that blacken children’s hearts.” While Tim brings in Staci and Jimbo to resolve the mixup, Boss Baby goes full-scale and takes over the leadership of the toy manufacturing business in the Pole, finding inefficiencies in the systems. In the meantime, will Boss Baby “learn a thing or two about the Christmas spirit?”
Touted as a heartwarming computer-animated family movie, The Boss Baby: Christmas Bonus is an adventurous comedy that offers an escape into the holiday cheer, promising laughter, hope, and the promise of a kinder world. Based on the book by Marla Frazee, this goofy and wacky kid-friendly Christmas movie has a casual feel and relatively low-key animation. Though the film goes hand in hand with the holiday mood, it fails to impress or entertain even if it is targeted at a much younger audience. The premise is interesting, but if it doesn’t sound exactly like a bundle of laugh-out-loud joy, it is because it isn’t.
Directed by Matt Engstrom and Christo Stamboliev, the film is straining to inject everything Christmassy visually and storywise into the proceedings to find hooks for all ages to enjoy. The humor works in parts. However, it doesn’t keep you satisfied. The idea of an adult in a baby’s body is refreshing, and Boss Baby is still in charge with his horrifically cold, businesslike, and domineering ways. Boss Baby suggests reforms in factory management, raising revenue, and starting a revolution against Santa’s fossilized business for the recognition of the work done by the elves, showing how he goes into the boss mode in every situation. With his integrity and precision, Dongle reminds us of Boss Baby, but unlike his contemptuous and spiteful self, Dongle is emotionless and matter-of-fact.
Unlike the original movie, which had slapstick humor, this bonus movie utilizes verbal humor as a strong suit. The elves revolt saying they can never work as “nameless cog in the Christmas wheel,” Boss Baby mocking Santa referring to how he “wears a red suit to a home invasion,” Boss Baby disgustingly calls his elf costume as dressing “like a court jester tradition,” and Dongle after using sleeping dust on Tim’s parents saying, “Drama is the spice of life” evoke mild laughter in this dull and dreary contraption. The voice actors George Lopez as Santa, Ray Chase as Dongle, and series regular JP Karliak as Boss Baby have done their best to give life to the characters.
This animated caper tries to attract young and old kids to excite them about the gleeful season but fails to pump the energy and high spirits to its viewers, and we can’t seem to grasp what all the fuss is about. Just like the bearded Kris Kringle forces a laugh out of Boss Baby by tickling for the pictures, but much to the chagrin, we are pointlessly tickled to evoke laughter. It is better to revisit Home Alone this Christmas season as nothing gets us into the holiday spirit like the Chris Columbus directorial that covers all season-specific bases from the jingle bell spirit to the fundamental principles of Christmas.