Based on the novel series by Aaron Blabey, The Bad Guys gives a glimpse into the lives of the most notorious criminals around. The Big Bad Wolf goes by “Mr. Wolf” (Sam Rockwell) and leads a band of hellions consisting of Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson), Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos), and Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina). This band of wreckless poachers may seem “all bad”, but the truth is, there’s more to them than meets the eye.

As evidenced by Mr. Wolf’s introduction speech, he and the others gave into how the world perceived them because everyone saw them as evil. “When you’re born us, you don’t exactly win any popularity contests. Do I wish people didn’t see us as monsters? Sure I do. But these are the cards that we’ve been dealt, so we might as well play ’em.” Outside of the goofy and at times crude comedy, the film centers around the idea of friendship and how it’s never too late to change.

After Mr. Wolf breaks a cardinal rule that the group lives by, the gang gets caught up in an operation by the newly elected governor Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz). The crew looks like they’re set for a life behind bars, but just then, they’re given a lifeline. A challenge was given to the heavily lauded professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade): Turn the bad guys good or they spend their lives in prison.

Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade) in DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

Just as the characters are not who they seem, neither is the story. A handful of plot twists and a sprinkle of easter eggs made for an enjoyable hour and a half viewing.

The slim, well-dressed Mr. Wolf, mirrored a familiar character played by George Clooney in Ocean’s 11. He’s even warned during the movie not to “Go full Clooney”. With the style and finesse of Danny Ocean and a getaway car reminiscent of Eleanor from Gone in 60 Seconds, it’s a film that’s easy to grasp and is riddled with familiarity.

The Bad Guys gets an 8 out of 10. This is one that you’ll hear about when awards season comes back around. It’s a fun film that you’ll want to have on the shelf (or in the cloud) when it leaves theaters.

-Jon Jones

Photos: Courtesy of Dreamworks

Leave a Reply