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Parenthood Support Group

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Nestor Guriev
Nestor Guriev

The The Bad Guys

Notorious crime squad THE BAD GUYS have avoided capture for years, becoming the world's most wanted villains in the process. When they're finally caught, Mr. Wolf (voiced by Sam Rockwell) brokers a deal: the Bad Guys will go good in exchange for their freedom. But the crew will have to convince everyone (and themselves) that they really are "good guys," just as a new villain comes to town.

The The Bad Guys


But, the movie takes a turn. Once the bad guys get caught, it is not just a heist movie anymore; it's a redemption story. When Wolf attempts to keep them out of jail while still pulling off their biggest heist, he lands them at a wealthy philanthropist's house to turn the "bad guys" into "good guys." The ploy works on Wolf, though, when he slowly starts liking the feeling of being good.

Upon reaching safety, the Bad Guys selfishly (and reluctantly) abandon Wolf for his redemption and get shocked when they return to their hideout and find it completely emptied of their loot, as Wolf revealed its location to Foxington earlier as compensation for his crimes. The Bad Guys are despondent enough for Snake to give his last possession to Mr. Shark out of kindness, making the rest of the Bad Guys realize that they can change their ways and help Wolf, though Snake denies it and abandons them, saying that they will always be bad guys.

"The Bad Guys" is loosely based on a series of popular children's books by Aaron Blabey. The idea is that a group of villains - aka bad guys - finally get caught during a heist that goes awry, so in order to avoid a harsh consequence for their actions, they attempt to "go good." Or as the Big Bad Wolf (voiced by a seemingly sedated Sam Rockwell) explains it in the film, "The bad guys become the good guys, so we can stay the bad guys."

Right from the start, the tone feels off. A movie about bad guys going good could have gone in hundreds of interesting directions, with several life-lessons available for the choosing and tons of fodder for kids and grown-ups alike. Which is why it's actually quite impressive that the direction that "The Bad Guys" settles on goes in zero of them.

Mr. Wolf has eyes for one of the "good guys" hunting him down, the coy Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz). A crazed police chief (Alex Borstein) has devoted her life to tracking these criminals down. A famous hamster (Richard Ayoade) is tasked with helping the bad guys turn good. All of these three authority figures end up being terrible representations, and supply zero in the way of laughs or personality to the film.

Am I being too harsh? I felt nothing but joylessness watching "The Bad Guys," a movie that I was actually super-excited for and had high hopes for. It was draining. My five-year-old, the son of a film critic who ironically and tragically does not like movies all that much - yet - was counting down the days to see this film. He is obsessed with bad guys - not necessarily these bad guys, but just bad guys in general (should I be worried?). He asked to leave the theater more than a few times. He was bored, and asked me, "Daddy, when does this movie end?"

The plot is based on a gang of bad guys (who happen to be friends). These friends plan heists and live the bad life that they happen to enjoy. Mr. Fox (I could not stop thinking of Fantastic Mr. Fox) is the leader of the Bad Guys. Ms. Tarantula is a tech hacker. Mr. Snake acts as the lookout and can even be used in place of a rope.


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