“The Bad Guys” is an animated comedy that takes the crazy vibe of Looney Tunes and brings it into a world of “Ocean’s Eleven”. They are a team of animal characters who run elaborate heists on all sorts of unsuspecting people in all sorts of places. Based on a children’s book of the same name, in which the team’s leader decides to change from being Bad to instead being Good. That goes against the motto of the team: “Go Bad or Go Home”.
In the animated version of L.A — there is a group of notorious criminals called “The Bad Guys”. This squad of baddies is led by Mr. Wolf (voiced by Sam Rockwell). His best friend and old-time pal is Mr. Snake (voiced by Marc Maron). Wolf is the leader and the brains of the organization. Snake is his enforcer and an experienced safe-cracker.
They also have with them a tech guru, Ms. Tarantula (voiced by Awkwafina). They call her ‘Webs’. The small but powerful muscle for the jobs is provided by Mr. Piranha (voiced by Anthony Ramos). The final member is Mr. Shark (voiced by Craig Robinson), who is a master-of-disguise.
Wolf has set his goal on the next target. At the Annual Gala, the team goes to steal the ‘Golden Dolphin’. It is a statue awarded to the citizen who has done the most good for the city. The newly-elected Governor (a fox), Diane Foxington (voiced by Zazie Beetz) is going to hand out the award. This year it will go to (a guinea pig) Prof. Rupert Marmalade IV (voiced by Richard Ayoade). He saved the city from ruin when a heart-shaped meteorite fell last year and destroyed much of the area.
Wolf is upset that Foxington made snide remarks about him on TV, and that she gave the Chief of Police, Misty Luggins (voiced by Alex Borstein) more resources to stop the Bad Guys. Wolf tries to steal a purse from an old lady, but instead saves her from falling down the stairs. It is all caught on camera, and Wolf is struck by something he had never felt before.
All of a sudden, he knows how good it feels to do ‘Good’. The entire team is caught and is about to be arrested. But the good-hearted Prof. Marmalade steps in with an idea. He wants to take the crew and work with them to turn them all ‘Good’. Snake is offended that Wolf takes him up on this offer.
Wolf tells him it is all just part of a new scam that will allow them to lay low and makes new plans to steal the award. The Bad Guys are sent to stay with Marmalade, so he can show them how to do good things. They can save a cat from a tree, and they can learn to share. Snake is about to share the last ice pop from the freezer with Shark, but Nope!
They help Marmalade to free a huge herd of guinea pigs used in cruel animal testing. Wolf is pretty clever, and soon he convinces Marmalade and Governor Foxington that the group should now be called ‘The Good Guys’. Police Chief Luggins thinks that Wolf has conned the Professor and the public.
The Gala will go on again, and now with Prof. Marmalade presenting “The Good Guys” before getting his award. Wolf has pre-arranged a heist plan with Snake, Shark, Webs and Piranha. At a specific time, Wolf will start a power blackout. Then when the power returns, the ‘Golden Dolphin’ award will be gone, and so will “The Bad Guys”.
All of the crew agree to the plan that Wolf has created. All he needs to do is press a button to get it rolling. But he looks at Diane Foxington, and he gets that feeling that he should be doing Good instead of Bad. The power does go out, but it is not Mr. Wolf that caused it.
There is somebody else who is hatching a more dastardly plan. The award is not missing, but the unique heart-shaped meteorite is gone. Someone very devious has out-conned the cons! Chief Luggins is thrilled, because now her expanded force can capture all the culprits and put all “The Bad Guys” in prison.
But, unless they can get another unexpected assist — will “The Bad Guys” ever taste freedom again to investigate and find the REAL culprit? Perhaps some help will come from a different criminal — one with a nickname “Crimson Paw”, a super-secret jewel thief who never has been identified and was never caught. Would that ever happen? You can bet your Clooney that will happen!
“The Bad Guys” is a fun, if frivolous, romp of a comedy. The animation style is pretty slick, and it shows off the various characters in an amusing manner. The voice work is particularly good, especially with Sam Rockwell (Mr. Wolf) and Richard Ayoade (Prof. Marmalade).
Everyone else in the movie is also having a great time with their characters. The plot is very twisty, with more than enough double-crosses and unexpected results. The action is well-paced and easy to follow. The goofy fun makes it quite enjoyable.
“The Bad Guys” make for a solid team of “Ocean’s Eleven” parody characters. The movie is a solid piece of family entertainment, and it doesn’t leave the parents hanging. They can also get as much crazy fun as any youngster.
The Bad Guys
Directed by: Pierre Perifel
Screenplay by: Etan Cohen
Based on “The Bad Guys” by: Aaron Blabey
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Anthony Ramos, Craig Robinson, Awkwafina, Richard Ayoade, Zazie Beetz, Alex Borstein
Edited by: John Venzon
Music by: Daniel Pemberton
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release date: April 22, 2022
Length: 100 minutes
MPAA rating: PG for action and rude humor
Genre: Animated Action Comedy