Transfiguring Adoption awarded this movie 4 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]
Genre: Kids/Family, Comedy
Runtime: 107 minutes
From the Cover of The Boss Baby 2: Family Business by [studio]:
“Now adults, Tim Templeton is a stay-at-home dad for two adorable daughters, while his estranged brother, Ted, is a big-shot CEO. They come together in an unexpected way when they take a magical formula that transforms them into babies for 48 hours. Joining forces with Tim’s secret-agent daughter, they must go undercover to prevent an evil genius from turning fellow toddlers into monstrous brats.”
Transfiguring Adoption’s Overview:
Boss Baby 2 was written for a general audience while appearing to target families with children from elementary school age all the way through high school. The movie is not specifically created for foster or adoptive but as we will discuss in the next section, there are themes which very much are pertinent to these types of families.
This movie is treated as the second chapter of Tim Templeton’s life where he is an adult man with a family of his own. Unfortunately, where the end of the last movie saw Tim and his brother Ted as an inseparable team, the beginning of this film finds that the adult men have grown apart. The brothers are not the only ones who have grown up but cameos are given throughout the movie of various characters who were babies in the first movie. Thus, fans of the first movie will see these characters but anyone will be able to dive into the storyline with a new cast of characters — including Tim’s older daughter, Tabitha and baby daughter, Tina.
My wife and I found that this movie was comical, playing on baby puns and humor but didn’t seem to be as funny as the first film. Also, while there were new characters, the second movie seemed to lack depth in the secondary baby sidekicks. However, these secondary characters did offer some great comic relief to somewhat heavy topic situations and provided fun entertainment. My wife felt that the movie moved a bit slow but overall, I walked away having felt entertained and as though I had spent my time wisely.
** Spoilers Could Be Ahead **
How Is This Relevant To Adoption & Foster Care?
Boss Baby 2 plainly communicated that parents/caregivers play a significant role in a child’s life. For this reason it can be a powerful tool for foster and adoptive families. Many children from traumatic backgrounds can find it difficult to trust adults (many times for good reason). Thus, it is frustrating to see movies portray parents or caregivers as vindictive, sadistic, or of sub-parr intelligence. A movie such as Boss Baby 2, where children and babies have a whole network of spy-like activities and gadgets, could easily cross over into the category of treating parents as insignificant and preach the message that children are better than adults. However, the opposite message was communicated and it was continuously portrayed that parents/caregivers were of the utmost importance to babies/children.
Naturally this is going to be a major strength that can help you connect with your child. So let’s get right to the Discussion Points…
- Parent/Caregivers are Important
The evil Armstrong character in the movie is out to take control of all parents and adults everywhere and begin his baby revolution. From the beginning of the movie this plot is shown as coming from the evil mastermind, even though he is sharing all the benefits about having no parents — such as eating sweets all the time and no one telling you, “no.” The heroes, Tim, Ted, and Tina (yes, evidently the writers like alliteration) are always portrayed as seeing the overthrow of parents as a horrible situation.
There are scenes throughout the movie that depict Tim, the father, striving to figure out how to help his daughter through a bullying situation as well as trying to build self-confidence into her. As you watch the film you should be able to spot various ways that Tim and his wife strive to help their children and provide for their social and emotional needs.
The most powerful part of this theme is seen toward the end during a final battle when the evil Armstrong is facing off with little baby girl, Tina, and says, “Why do you need parents?” Tina quickly retorts back with, “Unconditional love.”
Parents would do well to point out this theme to begin conversations about why having a parent figure in your life is important for growing up to be a successful adult or even simply being a successful child.
- Family is Forever
“Childhood doesn’t last forever, but family is forever.”
Baby Tina Templeton narrates this quote at the end of the movie. This quote represents a great discussion theme… and a trauma trigger. Let’s cover the trigger below and take a look at the positive discussion theme first.
Another major theme of Boss Baby 2 is pointing out the importance of family relationships. In fact we find out at the end of the film that baby Tina, as an undercover Baby Corps agent, had a personal mission to mend her father and uncle Ted’s relationship. Tina also has a few playful spats with her uncle Ted about success where Tina is able to champion for family and relationships.
Children from trauma backgrounds may not have had a strong sense of family modeled for them. Quite frankly living in a healthy family relationship might be abnormal and uncomfortable for them. The theme of this movie is a great way to point out ideas and topics about healthy families and the importance of family relationships. It could also be used to begin conversations about the definition and makeup of a family since our children’s situation isn’t going to be the “traditional” family.
- Don’t Grow Up Too Fast
Tim’s oldest daughter Tabitha seems to be growing up quickly. She no longer wants her father to kiss her goodnight and expresses to him that they both need to grow up. As we watch the movie we also witness that Tabitha is being asked to take on a rigorous learning schedule at school. Tim can also be heard reflecting on the quick passing of time at the beginning of the movie and the end of the movie. It would seem that there are bigger themes in Boss Baby 2 but this can be a good discussion to have with children from trauma backgrounds. Some children from traumatic backgrounds were not allowed to be children since the adults in their life didn’t have the “adulting” situations under control. It may have then fallen on the child to attend to various adult roles instead of simply being a child. Thus, it can be important for foster or adoptive parents to discuss the importance of a childhood as well as the “job duty,” or role of a child in a family. These kinds of discussion paired with the built trust of a safe caregiver can allow a child to begin a process for enjoying childhood.
- Siblings Relationships
At one point the evil Armstrong expresses to the Templeton brothers that he knew they were brothers because of their bickering and jealousy. However, in an earlier scene around a family dinner table, Tim and Ted’s parents are telling stories about how the brothers were proud of each other and inseparable as children.
Sibling relationships can be deep and complicated. I have heard sibling relationships being described as playing the most vital role in our lives because most of us will not have another person or people who will live with us longer than our siblings. Our significant others more than likely didn’t share our childhood with us and our parents will not share all of our adult life with us. Our brothers and sisters are the people who understand where we came from, experience where we are, and have the potential to see where we are going in life. This is a big case for why it is imperative to keep sibling relationships strong amongst foster and adoptive children as much as possible.
Families would do well to use this film as a way to begin conversations about the ups and downs of a sibling relationship. It would also be worth discussing how both brothers felt at the end of the movie about having drifted apart and note how they were able to reconcile their past mistakes to make amends.
- What Does Success Look Like
Especially in American culture, there seems to be a push to become successful. In the movie we can see both Tim and Ted leading very different lives which both can be described as successful. Ted is portrayed as a very wealthy businessman who also wields a lot of power. Tim seems to have a great family who he enjoys spending quality time with often. Thus, we have one brother who is fully goal oriented and one brother who is fully relationship oriented. The film does a great job of talking about the pitfalls of both approaches without moderation. At a family dinner, the brothers’ parents talk about “Tim Time”, “meaning that Tim often lives too much in a fantasyland and actually isn’t fully present. However, the parents describe Ted as being an uptight and high strung child.
For children who are constantly being told by our culture that they need to perform more and do better to compete in the world, this movie offers opportunities to talk about situations in the film where we learn about Ted’s goal oriented life. In fact, Ted tells Tim at one point, “I made lots of money but you made a family,” showing that he grew throughout the film to discover the importance of those family relationships. Children from trauma backgrounds might find it difficult to compete with their peers when they are still coping and overcoming issues induced by their traumatic pasts. It could be that learning to have healthy relationships is an imperative part to them becoming successful adults. However, it IS worth a parent pointing out that not having goals in life will not allow for success also. It would be good for parents to take these examples of both extremes to have discussions about how your family defines success and how that is played out in life.
Lastly, I’ll throw this quote in just for you parents… Ted is praising Tim about his fathering abilities and says, “You work around the clock. You can’t quit. You don’t even get paid. Quite frankly, I don’t even see how that is legal.”
Tim Templeton’s oldest daughter, Tabitha, attends a progressive school called the Acorn Center. The school is seen as being very elite in the community and strives to educate children to the extreme. The students wear uniforms when entering the school with an acorn pendant. When they get close to the school the pendant glows a certain color which lets the children know which area of the school they should report. The blue acorns are seen as the elite and most intelligent children while the yellows are seen as the students who are at the “bottom of the barrel.” Right away this sets the tone of judging the children purely on academic merit. However, when we follow Tabitha into her classroom we are introduced to characters who seem to be cutthroat peers. Nathan, a boy in Tabitha’s class, can frequently be witnessed verbally bullying, mocking, and jeering at Tabitha, who seems to academically outperform the boy. At one point after verbally tearing Tabitha down, Nathan tells another student happily, “I want to see her fail.”
While the bullying may not bother most children, a foster or adoptive child who is already feeling out of place in their school and possibly feeling self-conscious about how they fit in with their peers, may find that these depictions of bullying are emotionally too much. If your child is sensitive to bullying or verbal abuse, you might want to be mindful of this movie.
- Family is Forever
If you haven’t already read what we had to say about this topic in the “Discussion Points,” area above, be sure to go read it as this theme does have a strong benefit. However, on the same side of the coin it can be triggering. Boss Baby 2 definitely discusses the family issues coming from the traditional family viewpoint and does not take into consideration that some children are no longer with their birth families. As we stated above, the baby character, Tina, makes the comment, “Childhood doesn’t last forever, but family is forever.” While this sentiment is great for a traditional family and has great uses for foster and adoptive families who clearly define the makeup of a family, it could also be triggering for a child who knows they will more than likely not be seeing their birth family again.
On the same line of thought, Tina retorts to the evil Armstrong that parents are important because they offer children unconditional love. This could be emotionally difficult for a child to hear when they were separated from their birth family.
Thus, it is going to be imperative that caregivers discuss the definition of a family with their child. These themes can be true for our children also within the creation of their present families units. However, it may be equally important that parents check-in with their children to see if these themes bring up any questions about birth families.
- Cartoon Violence
At various points in the movies the heroes have to encounter ninja babies with ninja throwing stars and swords. There is a pony in the movie that dislikes Tim Templeton and takes any opportunity to kick him or harm him. There are times when babies and children are fighting — including babies fighting in robot suits. At one point the Templeton brothers are locked away in a room and tied to a chair as the room slowly fills with water. Most of these scenes and others are executed in comical ways. It seemed to be in the same category as Wile E. Coyote having an anvil dropped on him in the old Looney Tunes cartoons.
I would personally not let the violence discount this movie BUT if your child is sensitive to scenes of violence, then you may want to assess the movie before letting your child watch it.
Transfiguring Adoption is a nonprofit organization seeking to nurture growth in foster and adoptive families by giving a HOOT about their families. Transfiguring Adoption does not intend for its reviewers nor its reviews to be professional, medical or legal advice. These reviews and discussion guides are intended to help parents to better be able to connect and understand their children who come from traumatic backgrounds.