The Bad Guys review – a waggish good time

April 16, 2022
M.N. Miller 0
Film, Film Reviews
3.5

Summary

The Bad Guys is super-cute, super cool, and is a waggish good time.

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3.5

Summary

The Bad Guys is super-cute, super cool, and is a waggish good time.

This review of the new animated film The Bad Guys does not contain spoilers.

At first glance, The Bad Guys has a tone that reminded me of watching Looney Tunes. I remembered how my dad told me how they were made for adults. (The originals had been heavily cut and trimmed the inuendos. I wonder if those will ever see the light of the day). This film lacks the top-quality sight gags of those classic cartoons, though there are a few good ones. However, Perifel and company keep the quality of misunderstood villains with a heart of gold and still happens to be a lot of fun.

Based on the children’s book series by Australian author Aaron Blabey, the film is a story of five bad guys who love stealing stuff that doesn’t belong to them. Their charismatic leader is Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell, showing more charm here than in most of his live-action films), who loves being chased more than the score. His crew includes his best bud, Mr. Snake (Glow’s Marc Maron), a safe-cracking extraordinaire with a grumpy disposition. You have a young IT expert, Ms. Tarantula (The Fairwell’s Awkwafina), who utilizes every one one of her stems to get the job done. And finally, the “face” of the group, Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson), who is a master of disguises, and Mr. Piranha (In the Height’s Anthony Ramos), a high-strung freshwater fish who is the group’s muscle but passes gas when he gets nervous.

Their next score gets personal when the Governor, Diane Foxington (Zazie Beats), calls out the crew for their crimes as a way to fill the hole that their insecurities and self-loathing can’t fill. So, they attempt to steal the Golden Dolphin awarded to Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade), a genius guinea pig. He helped lift the city from the tragedy of a heart-shaped meteorite that put a large hole in it. The esteemed professor convinces the governor to allow him to change the group’s hearts to become, you know, the good guys.

If parents are worried about some of the storylines, like robbery, they shouldn’t be. There is nothing too inappropriate for children that you wouldn’t find in, for example, Despicable Me. The screenplay by Etan Cohen (Idiocracy, and Holmes & Watson, the latter strangely proving the aforementioned point) does a wonderful job of folding in lessons for children without hitting the audience over the head with a heavy dose of preaching.

For example, when the crew finds someone has stolen their score, one of them laments how unfair it is. How can someone steal the stuff they took from others? Ramos’s Piranha pouts about how he doesn’t like feeling this way. The book series’s core theme is that it’s not necessarily that the guys do bad things. Society views them as bad because of the animals they are. They are treated like criminals or dangerous creatures. So they act that way and socialize to do things society does not agree with. 

Admirably, the film doesn’t try to thwart you with a joke every minute of its running time. The team allows the humor to be well-placed and come naturally, despite its frequent car chase scenes. The comedy may be too tame for its target audience. Though the scenes of Rockwell’s Wolf being unable to contain the movement of his tail when he is told he is good is too adorable for anyone not to smile.

What did you think of the new animated film The Bad Guys? Comment below!