The Bad Guys
2 Apr 2022
Aaron Blabey, Etan Cohen
Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Richard Ayoade, Zazie Beetz
Film goers don’t usually have to wait long before bad guys stroll across the big screen. The miscreants who continually look for the easy way out and a quick buck along the way. They might be bad by name but not always by nature and are rarely devoid of redeeming qualities. They remain likeable rogues who wear their imperfections with pride; they gain as much if not more sympathy as their ‘good’ opponents. This latest offering from DreamWorks is based on the books of Aaron Blabey, and is a satisfying tale of familiar characters trying to go straight but inevitably hitting some bumps in the road.
The Bad Guys are a notorious gang led by the sharp suited, smooth talking Wolf (Sam Rockwell). Snake (Marc Maron) is the ace safecracker with a weakness for ice lollies; whilst Tarantula (Awkwafina) is the IT nerd with a technical solution for every occasion. Piranha (Anthony Ramos) and Shark (Craig Robinson) provide the muscle holding the team together. When their latest heist goes wrong, they are given a chance to prove themselves as good citizens: by being good guys. Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade) is tasked with their rehabilitation while Governor Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz) promises the gang an amnesty if they succeed. Can someone so good at being bad just be good. There is a frisson of tension between Wolf and Foxington that might affect the plan. But how will this caper turn out and can a wolf really get on with a fox?
The film unashamedly copies Ocean's Eleven with George Clooney in wolf's clothing. It tries nothing vaguely original although the execution is absolutely faultless. It nods gently in the direction of Quentin Tarantino and pays homage to several classic movie sequences. Half the fun is spotting these scenes; which is much like recognising the samples in an early hip-hop record. Sam Rockwell pulls off a convincing George Clooney persona; however Richard Ayoade as the Professor sounds more like Ronnie Corbett and doubt that was the intention. The Bad Guys is a thoroughly enjoyable way to pass a 100 minutes, but there is nothing here you wouldn't have seen before.