By Nsenga K. Burton, National Newspaper Publishers Association
Summer brings beaches, bikinis, barbecues, and blockbusters at the movies. While folks are planning outings to see Top Gun, Jurassic Park Dominion, Thor: Love and Thunder and DC League of Super Pets, they might want to make room for The Bad Guys, an animated film about a group of animal outlaws who execute a legendary heist. Although this film is not a summer blockbuster (it was released in April), it is fun and imaginative and has as much entertainment value for parents as it has for kids.
Based on a New York Times best-selling book series, the motley crew of criminals go on a mission to pull-off their biggest heist ever. When the heist goes awry, the crew must pull-off the biggest scam of their lifetime – becoming good guys. Played out against the backdrop of New York City, the crew must figure out who they are and who they want to be and in the spirit of Oceans 11, look good while doing it.
The Dreamworks action comedy has some heavy hitters voicing the team. Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell plays Mr. Wolf, a flashy pickpocket who is the leader of the pack. His lifetime best friend and safe cracker Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), master-of-disguise Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson), hot-head enforcer Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos) and expert hacker Ms. Tarantula a.k.a. Webs (Awkwafina) round out the crew too bad to be good.
The names are reminiscent of a classic Quentin Tarantino film as is the action that takes viewers all over the island of Manhattan with complex car chases, daring escapes, slick heists and the “hot guy” (Mr. Wolf) dancing around a romance with Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz), the Governor of California with a secret past of her own.
Coupled with a duplicitous diabolical villain Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade) and overzealous police chief Misty Luggins (Alex Borstein), The Good Guys is an animated film that teaches integrity and important life lessons without sounding preachy. What’s even better about this film are the Easter Eggs (intertextual references) strewn throughout the film referencing iconic heist and action-comedy films like this one. There’s nothing better than a children’s film that speaks to adult audiences without ruining it for either group.
The Bad Guys is a film for everyone. So, grab the kids for an afternoon of fun at the movies. Thank me later.
The Bad Guys is playing at a theater near you. For couch squatters, The Bad Guy is currently streaming on Vudu, Google Play, Amazon Prime and YouTube.
This article was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., entertainment, and culture editor for NNPA/Black Press USA Newswire. She is also founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire, and award-winning news blog covering the African Diaspora. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual or Instagram @TheBurtonWire.