Featuring slick animation and a talented voice cast, Pierre Perifel’s The Bad Guys is sure to delight younger audiences and does enough to appease the adults as well.
Sam Rockwell lends his voice to Mr. Wolf, the leader of the titular group. Joining him is his best friend Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina), Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson), and Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos). Following their latest theft, the group sees Governor Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz) insult their exploits. In retribution, the group decides to steal the Golden Dolphin trophy, soon to be rewarded to Professor Rupert Marmalade (Richard Ayoade) for general goodness.
During the heist, Wolf saves an old lady from falling down the stairs, which affects him positively. After their heist is foiled, Marmalade offers to reform the group with Foxington’s approval. As they attempt to learn goodness, a further plot is uncovered and the group is torn on whether to pursue goodness or keep being “the bad guys.”
The animation is clean and has a nice flow. There are parts of the film that feel photorealistic, while still maintaining the cartoon quality. Smooth is the best way to describe it. The jokes are broad and the message is obvious, but a good time is had regardless.
Rockwell’s laid back vocal delivery fits Wolf well, while Maron gets the showcase part as the constantly grumpy Snake. Ramos seemed to be having the most fun as the unhinged part of the group, while Ayoade was attempting the role most different from his actual voice.
Films like this don’t need overt analysis. Simple themes of nature vs. nurture and the gray area between good and bad are not new ideas. The film never tries to be more than what it is, and I commend them for it.
These movies are easy to digest and uncontroversial. The Bad Guys falls into a long line of well-intentioned animation that will populate the cable rerun airwaves for years to come. My kids loved it, and that’s what it was meant to do.
The Bad Guys is currently available to watch in theaters