REVIEW: The whole family should enjoy watching ‘The Bad Guys’ try to be good in the newest Dreamworks animated movie
SALT LAKE CITY — Dreamworks Animation continues its solid run of well-made and enjoyable animated features with their newest entry (and potential franchise-launcher) The Bad Guys from director Pierre Perifel and based on the Scholastic book series by author Aaron Blabey.
Based on quality alone this new movie, which features a solid voice cast and fun plot with lots of humorous moments from writer Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder, Madagascar 2, Idiocracy), should take its place as a family favorite along other Dreamworks hits like Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Trolls, Boss Baby and Storks.
The Bad Guys follows a team of anthropomorphic animal villains, you know… the ones that are never the heroes of any animal story: Big Bad Wolf (Sam Rockwell), Shark (Craig Robinson), Snake (Marc Maron), Tarantula (Awkwafina), and Piranha (Anthony Ramos). Because they know everyone already sees them as villains, they reason that they might as well act that way.
Each of the crew has a particular specialty: the Wolf is a great pickpocket, the tarantula a hacker, the snake is a safecracker, the shark a master of disguise, and the piranha is the hot-headed brawler. They are widely feared in this fictional version of Los Angeles as they rob banks, museums, and pretty much anything of value.
But after one mission fails and the team gets caught, Wolf strikes a deal where the authorities allow a local good-hearted philanthropist guinea pig named Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade of “The IT Crowd”) to try and reform them, instead of sending them to prison. He bets that if they get the taste of positive reinforcement and people cheering them as they do good, they’ll like it more than the rush of doing bad.
But is the team actually reforming their nefarious ways, or is it all part of another villainous scheme?
THINGS I LIKED
The thing I liked most about The Bad Guys was that every member of my family enjoyed it, and for different reasons. My 12- and 9-year olds had read the books the movie was based on and felt like it was a pretty faithful adaptation of what they liked about the source material.
I thought it had some great pop culture jokes and references that even adults could enjoy. It’s very funny, with jokes aimed at all ages, even successfully throwing in a couple of flatulence jokes without seeming gratuitous.
The animation was a visually interesting mix of 3D CG animation with some cartoon style shots mixed in that definitely caught my eye, and there were also a couple of fun story twists and turns that the kids never saw coming that I enjoyed.
Content wise, it’s safe for all ages in the family. Maybe the worst thing is that they are thieves. It’s rated PG for action and rude humor, including those flatulence jokes.
In my opinion, Dreamworks Animation has a body of work that is right up there in quality with Disney & Pixar for animated films. The Bad Guys just cements the fact they’ve figured out a good formula for making something funny and enjoyable for all ages. I’m sure we’ll be adding this one to our family collection when it comes to disc/digital.
Andy’s final rating: THREE out of FOUR stars
WHERE TO WATCH
The Bad Guys is playing only in theaters. No streaming options at this time.
Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful! Andy Farnsworth does a weekly “What To Watch” segment for the KSL 5 Today morning news show and also hosts the Fan Effect podcast for KSL NewsRadio. Check out his other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV series on KSLTV.com.
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