I love animated films. I was excited to see this movie from the very moment I saw the trailer. It looked like fun, something even adults would love. I thought this would be fun to watch with a fantastic cast and an interesting premise, and bad guys trying to go good. Unfortunately, the movie did not disappoint. It was exciting, full of escapades and cons, fantastic dialogue, hilarious scenes, and great action.
The Bad Guys is a computer-animated crime comedy film directed by Pierre Perifel in his directorial debut with the screenplay written by Etan Cohen, which is loosely based on the children’s book of the same name by Aaron Blabey. In the film, a group of criminal animals plans a heist. Their leader is Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell) with Mr. Snake, his best friend (Marc Maron), Mr. Shark, the disguise expert (Craig Robinson), Ms. Spider, hacker extraordinaire (Awkafina), and Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos), the muscle of the gang. However, when the heist goes wrong and the team gets caught, they pretend to reform with the mayor’s help, Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz) and Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade). But Mr. Wolf finds himself changing for real just as a new villain makes his own plans.
First, if you like heist films, like Ocean’s Eleven, this film will delight you. It has overtones of that film or the television show Leverage, wherein the plot uses the premise that the Bad Guys aren’t as villainous as they appear. They never are given a choice to be anything else, so other traits and preferences emerge when they get that chance. It shows children that we shouldn’t judge others by their actions but also that even if you act badly, you can make better choices later as long as you’re willing to accept the consequences. Adding that complexity to a film full of heists, cons, and escapades makes for an insightful and fun movie.
One of the reasons it’s so much fun is the dialogue. It is witty and charming. Sam Rockwell as Mr. Wolf manages the flirtatious nature and repartee of George Clooney in the “Ocean” movies while the others have their moments to shine. Mr. Snake is hilarious and sarcastic, while Ms. Spider and Mr. Piranha are silly in their antics. Lines like “Hate you guys the least.” and “Charm offensive, Clooney time” make for some laugh-out-loud moments, as do the ridiculous costumes that we see from Mr. Shark.
The comedy is not the only reason this is such fun. The film’s pacing is perfect, with a mix of cons, heists, and action, including car, chases to keep the audience thoroughly engaged and laughing. The scams and thefts are multi-layered with so many bait and switches you have to pay attention to follow who is doing what. The animation and designs are striking, and the effects in the action sequences are exciting. The friendships between the characters and how they navigate each other as they change are equally dramatic.
This truly is a stellar cast. Sam Rockwell is dynamic and charismatic as Mr. Wolf. He and Marc Maron have fantastic chemistry as friends. Sam Rockwell also has unbeatable chemistry with Zazie Beetz as Mayor Foxington. She also has some of the best lines and tricks in the entire film. Marc Maron is hilarious as Mr. Snake, aka Grumpy Pants. Awkwafina is excellent as Ms. Spider. She can bring her unique voice and comedy to the role. Craig Robinson has some of the silliest and laugh-out-loud moments as Mr. Shark. Anthony Ramos excels as Mr. Piranha, performing the character as a bit crazy but also incredibly talented. Zazie Beetz shines as Mayor Foxington. Robert Ayoade is superb as Professor Marmalade, full of hidden complexities. Everyone in the cast is wonderful in their roles.
As usual with most children’s films, you will find some parts predictable, but there are some surprises along the way. I do admit to guessing who the villain is along with their motivations. And while it is quite an engaging film, some parents might not like it as well if they aren’t into crime films. But I love the complexity, especially showing us animals normally thought of as scary as fun and silly rather than something to be feared. I also found a few surprises that I didn’t guess.
If you love crime-action films with animation, I highly suggest checking this out. It is so, so, so much fun. The comedy is gut-busting funny, the antics are silly, and some of the cons brilliant. The villain is unique, while the story is lively and exciting. I love all the cons, the heists, and the animated action scenes. But, of course, this is a film I’d watch more than once, just because it is so captivating and the best heist film I’ve seen in a while. This is one group of bad guys that will steal your hearts.
Rating: 4.5 push pops out of 5.
Make sure to check out the official website for a cool arcade game and activity pack.
Official Website: The Bad Guys | Trailer & Movie Site | Only In Theaters Friday | DreamWorks
The Bad Guys
Nobody has ever failed so hard at trying to be good as THE BAD GUYS. n the new action comedy from DreamWorks Animation, based on the New York Times best-selling book series, a crackerjack criminal crew of animal outlaws are about to attempt their most challenging con yet—becoming model citizens. Never have there been five friends as infamous as The Bad Guys—dashing pickpocket Mr. Wolf (Academy Award® winner Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), seen-it-all safecracker Mr. Snake (Marc Maron, GLOW), chill master-of-disguise Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson, “Hot Tub Time Machine” franchise), short-fused “muscle” Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos, IN THE HEIGHTS) and sharp-tongued expert hacker Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina, CRAZY RICH ASIANS), aka “Webs.” The film co-stars Zazie Beetz (JOKER), Lilly Singh (BAD MOMS) and Emmy winner Alex Borstein (THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL). Based on the blockbuster Scholastic book series by Aaron Blabey, The Bad Guys is directed by Pierre Perifel (animator, the “Kung Fu Panda” films), making his feature-directing debut. The film is produced by Damon Ross (development executive TROLLS, THE BOSS BABY, co-producer NACHO LIBRE) and Rebecca Huntley (associate producer, THE BOSS BABY). The executive producers are Aaron Blabey, Etan Cohen and Patrick Hughes. THE BAD GUYS opens in theaters Friday, April 22, 2022.
ONE-LINER: Several reformed yet misunderstood criminal animals attempt to become good, with some disastrous results along the way.