HAVE WE reached peak “Boss Baldwin”?
The man who honed his satiric con man of a boss during the seven-year run of NBC’s “30 Rock” seems to be omnipresent these days by playing comical honchos.
Then Sunday, his Fox/DreamWorks Animation film “The Boss Baby” reprised its role as the No. 1 film in the land.
“Boss Baby” grossed $26.3 million in its second weekend to top the domestic box office, according to studio estimates, edging out Disney powerhouse “Beauty and the Beast” ($25 million) for the second straight weekend. Final numbers are due Monday afternoon.
A central selling point of “Boss Baby,” says director Tom McGrath, is the familiar, colorful delivery of Baldwin, who plays the title briefcase-toting infant.
Baldwin has long played authority figures on screen, including military men who have Hawaiian ties (chewing out Ben Affleck in “Pearl Harbor,” for example, or “Aloha”), wise life advisers (“To Rome With Love”), high-finance wheeler-dealers (“Blue Jasmine”) and law-enforcement leaders (“The Departed”). (I’ve even seen him play one mean Mark Twain for a Kennedy Center ceremony.)
Yet now, Baldwin is upping the comical tone on his takes, playing and voicing characters who are depicted as throwing around sly glances beneath shifting eyebrows as they aim to fast-talk their way out of tight spots and hot accusations.
Baldwin’s two-fer sketch as both O’Reilly and Trump especially sparks the question of which big bosses he might play or spoof next. Could a Murdoch or Musk be in his near-future?
Meanwhile, if anything, the success of “Boss Baby” might just spur a sequel. The film has grossed nearly $200 million worldwide.
And perhaps equally important, Baldwin appears to have a tireless comic metabolism right now.
* The latest Smurfs outing, “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” bombed at the domestic box office, opening to only $14 million. That could spell the end of the franchise.
* “Beauty and the Beast” has earned $977.4 million worldwide. It will surely be Disney’s 13th film to top the billion-dollar mark.