April 22nd, 2022
MOVIE: THE BAD GUYS
STARRING: SAM ROCKWELL, MARC MARON, AWKWAFINA, CRAIG ROBINSON, ANTHONY RAMOS, ZAZIE BEETZ
DIRECTED BY: PIERRE PERIFEL
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
The Bad Guys has cemented itself being the first movie I was able to bring my four year old son to a press screening, so right off the bat, it will hold a place in my heart. Outside of that, it also happens to be a fun animated caper, possibly not the perfect fit for a four year old- it’s rated PG- but it’s a delightful heist romp, with a lightning quick narrative. The team known as The Bad Guys is a quintet of animals, all with a history to strike fear in the eyes of others, making them easily good at their thieving profession. When one of their biggest heists to steal the jeweled dolphin goes wrong, the plan becomes for the team to “go good”, all in a ruse to keep them out of prison. We know that won’t last- these are The Bad Guys– but it sure is a lot of wicked fun, with a delightful cast of voice actors, that make being bad look oh so good.
The team is led by Wolf (Sam Rockwell) the smooth grifter, along with Snake (Marc Maron) with his ability to break any safe. Then there is Shark (Craig Robinson) as the hilarious master of disguises, Tarantula (Awkwafina) as the tech genius with many arms on the computer keys, and the wild card is Piranha (Anthony Ramos) who is ready to go wild when needed. We’re introduced to the team on another one of their standard bank robberies, with everyone around them afraid, allowing them to just walk in, get their money, and then be pursued by police chief Misty Luggins (hilariously voiced by Alex Borstein). Of course catching them is close to impossible, where they have their own secret layer, wall-to-wall with gold bars, piles of cash, and stolen art that would make Scrooge McDuck jealous. They do it so well because they are a close team, a makeshift family, where everyone else has feared them and the team of Bad Guys has given each individual a bigger purpose. But sometimes being bad can grow stale.
The heist is planned out to steal the jeweled dolphin trophy, which is being awarded to Professor Marmalade (voiced by Richard Ayoade), a guinea pig that has used his wealth for good, and has become a positive influence for Mayor Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz). The heist goes to plan for The Bad Guys, but when Wolf helps an elderly lady from falling, the sense of goodness causes his tail to wildly wag, throwing off the heist, and leading to their capture. But Wolf has a plan, telling the mayor that if the crew can “go good”, under the tutelage of Professor Marmalade, then they can go free. It’s a risk but what Wolf didn’t expect was how much he enjoyed being good, putting a new wrinkle into the heist gang’s outfit.
From a narrative and visual standpoint, The Bad Guys is as sharp as a tack, starting with a wild car chase, and rarely slowing down in the kinetic energy. Director Pierre Perifel, working off the screenplay from the trio of writers Aaron Blabey, Etan Cohen, and Yoni Brenner, all have a great appreciation for the heist genre. They show the set-up, what each crew member does well, and bring it together with hilarious results. If you need to prep your pre-teen with something before you can show them Oceans 11, The Bad Guys is perfect. On top of the quick story, the animation is also fantastic, with a world merged of humans and animal people, where an influence of The Looney Tunes or Scooby-Doo is deep into the foundation.
On top of the script being sharp, the cast of voice actors all bring a great energy to their roles, especially Sam Rockwell as Wolf, who has a sly voice to begin with. You add the gruffness of Maron as Snake, the silky Beetz as a fox, and Ayoade stealing it all as the prim and proper Guinea Pig. As a whole, The Bad Guys is a lot of fun. The climactic ending becomes much too chaotic and some of the final twists are a bit too predictable, but it’s not without being fun along the way. The Bad Guys is one of the more fresh and consistently cool animated movies of late. This is the kind of group that will steal your heart away.
THE BAD GUYS IS PLAYING IN THEATERS THIS FRIDAY APRIL 22ND, 2022
Written by: Leo Brady