BAD GUYS  – A must watch

By Eriah Lule.

From the cover or even the trailer, it’s a movie you definitely call a friend with popcorn to watch with you.

The Bad Guys is an animated film about an anthropomorphic crew of the types of animals who often do dastardly things in children’s books—a wolf, a snake, and a shark, leaning into their reputation and pulling off various criminal scores in the manner of action movie bandits.

It’s about a group of criminal animals who, upon being caught, pretend to reform themselves as model citizens, only for their leader to find himself genuinely drawn to changing his ways as a new villain has his own plans.

Pierre Perifel, a longtime DreamWorks staffer who served as supervising animator on 2012’s Rise of the Guardians and here makes his feature-film debut as director, turns his movie into a big buffet. 

Perhaps it’s that Wolf, the charming con-artist-trying-to-make-good—voiced with a laidback swagger by Oscar-winner Sam Rockwell.

But then, a few minutes in, as the Wolf and his partner, a grumpy Snake voiced by Marc Maron, bicker in a dinner scene that deliberately yet subtly calls to mind the Honey Bunny cold open of Pulp Fiction, 

There’s also a great cast of voice actors, most of whom you wish turned up more often in live-action movies.

Professor Marmalade is a sanctimonious guinea pig do-gooder. Awkwafina, as a computer expert tarantula, lands less well. 

From its gas-passing piranha (voiced by In the Heights’ Anthony Ramos) to its reliance on phrases like “butt rock” and “grumpy pants” that seem grown in a lab to make the 12-and-under set giggle, the movie plays its target audience like a fiddle. That is music, no matter how familiar, that even the most cynical among us can enjoy.