Based on the popular children’s book series of the same name, Dreamworks’ adaptation of The Bad Guys is guaranteed to entertain audiences of all ages, regardless of their familiarity with the source material. With a mix of classic cartoonish silliness, physical gags, smartly written comedy, and thrilling action, this movie delivers laughs and excitement galore. The gorgeously colored and designed computer animation beautifully brings this movie to vivid life. Though the movie is rated PG for its action and thematic material, it is definitely safe enough for children and should be an absolute blast for the adults escorting these kids.
In this movie’s world, intelligent, humanlike animals and people coexist. The story follows a crew of professional thieves that the media and law enforcement have dubbed as “The Bad Guys.” Consisting of the smooth and charming Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell), the cantankerous Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), the youthful and hot-tempered Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos), the sweet and petulant Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson), and the technological wiz Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina), this group of colorful bandits have had more than their share of their successes, but still aspire to make their most legendary score. Well, the gang gets their chance when the see the opportunity to steal the priceless Golden Dolphin Award which has already been promised to local philanthropist guinea pig Professor Rupert Marmalade IV (Richard Ayoade).
Unfortunately for The Bad Guys, things don’t go according to plan and the entire group gets pinched by the authorities. In an attempt to help make things right and at the same time more beneficial for the group of thieves, Prof. Marmalade volunteers to take the group under his wing, and assist with their rehabilitation. Desperate to avoid doing time in prison, the group reluctantly agrees, but must undergo Marmalade’s program, whose goal is to turn the criminals into good upstanding citizens.
With a greatly written screenplay by Etan Cohen, director Pierre Perifel helms this winning animated film and does so swimmingly. Working with a gifted crew of animators, Perifel breathes some vibrant and exciting life into this world, story, drama, comedy, and action. If I haven’t already said this, The Bad Guys is so much fun! I laughed heartily and enjoyed this world and its characters. I, myself, have never read the books that inspired this movie, but I am sure several of the children that attended my screening know these books very well. And it seems that most of the audience there had a great time.
The movie definitely benefits from the exceptional voice work by the awesome cast. Everyone brings their A-game, but it is the commanding performance by Sam Rockwell that definitely stands out. I don’t honestly know if George Clooney is an inspiration for this take on Mr. Wolf, but I feel that Rockwell is definitely channeling his inner-Clooney through this character. His character exudes charisma and oozes charm. I was also very impressed with Zazie Beets who protrays Mr. Wolf’s love interest Diane Foxington, the red fox governor of California that initially wants to see The Bad Guys locked up for life. After meeting Mr. Wolf, her feelings change and the audience is in store for an Out of Sight, Clooney/Lopez type of dynamic between these two characters.
And some of these scenarios and relationships in the movie are the things that will keep the grownups invested and entertained, along with the cartoon silliness which will appeal to the kids. I wasn’t exactly sure what was in store for me going into this movie, but let me just say that I was pleasantly surprised. The Bad Guys is a movie I must highly recommend.