The Bad Guys

The Bad Guys

2022, PG, 100 min. Directed by Pierre Perifel. Voices by Sam Rockwell, Awkwafina, Zazie Beetz, Anthony Ramos, Marc Maron, Craig Robinson.

REVIEWED By Sarah Jane, Fri., April 22, 2022

Based on the Aaron Blabey kiddie graphic novel series of the same name, The Bad Guys is about a crew of, well, bad guys who love criming. It’s the only life they know. They love a good bank heist and, really, who doesn’t? Mr. Wolf (Rockwell), Mr. Snake (Maron), Mr. Piranha (Ramos), Mr. Shark (Robinson), and Ms. Tarantula, aka Webs (Awkwafina), rob banks seemingly just for the fun of it. They eventually get caught and swear to the governor, Ms. Foxington (Beetz), that they’re going to go straight and become model citizens. Wink, wink.

The voice acting in The Bad Guys is really strong. In more than a few animated films, the actors don’t sound like they’re really interacting with each other. It’s like they’re reading lines to no one. That’s not the case here; whether they were in the same room or not, it sounds like they are. Rockwell and Maron are the standouts here (I can’t believe I’m the only one who, at first, thought Mr. Snake was voiced by Danny DeVito), and Awkwafina is great as Webs: She can be grating, for sure, but not here. If you can make me want a stuffed animal version of your character, you’ve done a good job.

I dug the animation style. Although, you know I have that thing about animals having human teeth *shudder*. The action sequences are effective but the twist (yes, there is a twist – isn’t there always a twist?) doesn’t really succeed so the last act does feel a bit draggy. For a feature directorial debut, Pierre Perifel has nothing to be ashamed about. He and his team have made a solid film for kiddos.

I’m not sure The Bad Guys is something kids on the younger side will enjoy, as the action and humor seem aimed at a slightly older, 10-and-up crowd. Still, there are some good lessons to be learned here about staying true to your friends and not judging someone on the way they look – a lesson we all, not just the kiddos, need to learn. There is some crude humor, including one running joke that runs throughout the film. If flatulence jokes are your thing (and they absolutely are not mine), then this is the movie for you.

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The Bad Guys, Pierre Perifel

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