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It's good to be bad in the first six minutes of DreamWorks' latest animated feature: The Bad Guys (in theaters Friday). Directed by longtime DreamWorks Animation veteran Pierre Perifel, the movie wastes no time in introducing us to the titular protagonists (or, in this case, antagonists), a tight-knit crew of law-breaking animals led by the toothsome Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell).
His anthropomorphic partners in crime are the safe-cracking Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), master-of-disguise Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson), short-fused Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos), and expert hacker Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina).
They're all apex predators with a bad reputation because the rest of the world hasn't really given them a chance. If no one believes they have the capacity for goodness, then they might as well break the rules, right? The rip-roaring introduction features a breezy bank heist followed by a fast-paced car chase throughout the sunny streets of Los Angeles. It's a great showcase for the project's frenetic and anime-inspired art style.
Check out the first six minutes below:
Based on the young reader books penned by Aaron Blabey, The Bad Guys also features the acting talents of Richard Ayoade (Paddington 2), Zazie Beetz (Joker), Lilly Singh (Bad Moms), and Alex Borstein (Family Guy). In particular, Ayoade takes up the role of Professor Marmalade, a good-natured, yet arrogant, guinea pig who helps Mr. Wolf and his associates turn their lives around.
"I've taken imagery from [Quentin] Tarantino, which is in no way for children, and then put it in a new context and turned it into something else," Blabey explained of the property's various nods to adult-oriented crime cinema like Reservoir Dogs. "Because we haven't seen that necessarily before, right from the first time the books appeared in schools they just exploded. And I think that's why. I think it's because it feels like they've got their hands on a kind of story that is usually just for older siblings but somehow this one is for them."
All that's really missing is a severed ear, a bit of Stealers Wheel, and Tim Roth bleeding out on the floor of an empty warehouse.
Blabey is an executive producer on the big screen adaptation along with Etan Cohen and Patrick Hughes. Damon Ross and Rebecca Huntley are producers.
The Bad Guys opens in theaters everywhere this Friday, April 22. Click here to see what critics are saying about the film, which currently holds a 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. See? Sometimes, crime does pay. In all seriousness, though, don't commit any crimes.