The Bad Guys Review

A film spawned so it can use an obvious pop song tie-in from a few years ago, or just a happy coincidence? No matter, either way The Bad Guys has Marc Maron, and for crimes against comedy, the Pierre Perifel feature must be condemned. Etan Cohen writes his way to relevance once more after abysmally forgettable flicks Holmes & Watson and Men in Black 3. Here he is. Back again. How quaint. How terrible. How stacked a cast does The Bad Guys need for its poorly predictable, entirely uninteresting animation style to take hold? Reference here, a wink to the camera there, and thus, Dreamworks have done it again. Their heyday is gone, and audiences are better off without it.

That is somewhat harsh on a feature that stars Sam Rockwell as Mr. Wolf, a bank robber wolf with a typically comical scheme for stealing something or other. The generalities are all The Bad Guys need. It is all they rely on. Details that surround these characters are what matters, and Perifel has a mixed bag for his results there. Designs that entail decent set designs and background detail are nicely refined and included with charm. But that is the background. It is the foreground that marks most of the problems, with its blinkered scope of relatively dull comedy that would’ve appealed to kids had they not experienced more, better, elsewhere. “A caper by… Dreamworks Animation Studios,” the opening credits boast. Ridiculous indeed, especially considering the rather charmless gags that go nowhere and break the world around them.

Humans screaming at wolves and snakes dressed as people, soon forgotten about when the plot needs it to go elsewhere. A Cohen classic, and a blur of animation choices that hope to pay homage to the influences instead makes The Bad Guys look like a refined rendition of Cel Damage and later games from Telltale Animations than anything unique. Lazy in all the wrong places, The Bad Guys cuts corners in noticeable ways. Nameless characters are defined only by the one trait an animal of that stature needs, despite it having no relation to their role in the heist or alongside one another. Record scratch nonsense that trails out fairly often, especially when it realises the defining moments it has are the usual copy and paste of the past ten years of animation. Chase scene, record scratch, cut to a pop-culture joke five years too old and a break for more action. Anything to drip feed a new generation of audiences with the latest round trip of banal pop culture and humourless comedy that excels in repeating itself over and over.

The Bad Guys deals with that modicum of overnight viral sensations but, because this has been filtered through a group of suits and producers, feels like the Generation X equivalent of what they perceive as popular culture, but how can they know that when they’re always a few years behind? The Bad Guys is lucky the pop culture it rips off and riffs on so consistently is so harmless and banal now. A lucky break for luckless movie-making. Another round-up of an ensemble completely interchangeable. No defining characteristic or trait to make either the voice matter or the character seems at all interesting or needed in the situation that unfolds around them. Dreamworks hopes to market out another potential successor to their greatest triumphs, but it is hard to relate to such future classics as “Shark” and “Wolf”. Better luck next time. Another Shrek sequel to float the financial boat, perhaps?

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