The Reelist is a column featuring Kristen Page-Kirby’s musings on movies. For Washington Post film critic Pat Padua’s review of “The Boss Baby,” click here.
We have a few rules surrounding food in our house. What’s for dinner is what’s for dinner. You don’t have to clean your plate, but you have to take a bite of everything before getting seconds of anything (and, no, touching your fork to your carrots and then putting it in your mouth is not a bite). And, most importantly, don’t yuck someone’s yum. You don’t “ewwwww” Mom’s avocado toast with hot sauce and she won’t gag at your inordinate fondness for Burger King Chicken Fries. Well, she’ll try.
I was reminded of that rule while watching “The Boss Baby” with my 8-year-old son. He had been looking forward to the animated film from DreamWorks for a long time, since apparently “baby talks like Alec Baldwin” is one of his favorite comedy tropes. He spent the movie giggling, gasping and thoroughly enjoying himself. I spent the movie wishing for the sweet, sweet release of death. My favorite part of “The Boss Baby” was when I went to the bathroom so I could text my friend about how much I hated “The Boss Baby.”
At one point I leaned over to my son and whispered, “This movie is stupid,” hoping he’d agree. “Don’t yuck my yum,” he said, never taking his eyes off the (stupid) screen.
Yucking someone’s cultural yum has, unfortunately, become part of the landscape — God help the people who actually like Nickelback. That doesn’t mean everyone has to yum everyone else’s yum; I did not like “The Boss Baby,” and I will never again take a bite of BK Chicken Fries. The former is a lazy, nonsensical film that assumes that, because it’s targeted to children, it gets a pass on things like “story” and “comedy”; the latter is … well, I’m not sure what the latter is, but I do know I don’t want it in my mouth.
After the movie (and over some excellent fried chicken that was not disturbingly fry-shaped), my son and I had a good discussion about why, specifically, I did not like the movie, and why he did. In the end, we reached common ground in agreeing that “The Lego Batman Movie” was much better. In his words, it was because “Lego Batman” was “way more awesome.” Which it was.
Still, I should not have yucked my son’s yum. I should have let him keep enjoying the film without announcing that I wasn’t; we still could have had that same post-movie discussion. As bad as “The Boss Baby” and Chicken Fries are, I know they don’t make up any meaningful part of his diet. And his cinematic preferences — no matter what I think of them — are his own. We all have different tastes, and that’s great. There’s plenty of room at the table for everyone.