"The Bad Guys" Credit: Courtesy photo

There’s a lot to like about “The Bad Guys,” especially how villains are represented in stories. In the new family film led by French animator Pierre Perifel, he steps into a simple solution and reshapes five anthropomorphized animals into sympathetic protagonists. The film is adapted from a graphic novel series by Australian author Aaron Blabey.

The leader is Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell) who, along with his accomplices, gets away with a successful Los Angeles bank heist. His crew includes a safe-cracking Snake (Marc Maron), a tech whiz Tarantula (Awkwafina), a wacky Shark (Craig Robinson), and trigger happy Piranha (Anthony Ramos).

Because of Wolf’s successful track record, he’s the No. 1 target of a very sharp (fox) governor Diane (Zazie Beetz), and an obsessed (human) police chief Luggins (Alex Borstein).
Nothing good lasts forever—or so the saying goes—and their luck finally runs out during a plot to steal a treasured item at a pricey charity gala.

The thieves are caught and looking at jail time until a wealthy (guinea-pig) philanthropist Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade) suggests an experimental form of reform. Under his guidance, these bad guys will learn to use their criminal skills for good. That’s the opening, but there are a lot of great twists, and turns, packed with adventures that include car chases, cute kitten rescue missions, and a zombie apocalypse of Guinea Pigs of the Damned to name a few things that keep the group of “villains” occupied. The sight gags are sharp enough, skating on a running gag on the crippling impact of piranha farts.

“The Bad Guys” has a solid, original musical number, performed by Ramos (“In the Heights”) where the bad guys pledge (temporarily) that they’re “gonna be good tonight.”

“The Bad Guys” is a good choice. Great fun for kids and adults who are still very much kids at heart.

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