I am extremely late to the party here but yes, what most people were saying about “The Bad Guys” is mostly true: it’s a rather interesting riff on heist capers buoyed by a familiar Ocean’s Eleven set-up and even more familiar message but it’s smooth execution makes both the journey and destination a road worth traveling on.
For starters, there’s a familiar sense of chaotic sensibility normally matched in Looney Tunes here while finding some exaggerated, wholesale silliness in its zany animation; lively and incessant with a few pecks of swagger, the animation isn’t up to the standards of Spiderverse or even Mitchell’s Vs The Machines but it isn’t trying to be. The cell-shaded video game pop art-style is dynamic in its own way: an animated GTA 5 clone riveting on kinetic energy and glistening with personality.
Outside of mixing animation styles, charm is also clearly present in Pierre Perifel’s direction: as presentable as the core of the movie is, he blends the usual formula with a little bit of Tarantino, Soderbergh and Ritchie while moving along in its own manic manner. Fast paced action sequences are Fast And Furious worthy, aura of atmosphere feels reminiscent of film noir of the 1970’s, concentrated uses of edits and the camerawork make each scene look visually compelling, raucous and rowdy, use of the musical score has a nice melodic touch with peppy music to boot, the character gallery is as colorful as the delicious voice acting and chemistry, doing an excellent job in balancing each other out and it’s humor is not bad. Juvenile, yes but a few chuckles and gags did make me laugh a couple of times.
Its slick carefree surface level presentation does prevent intricate worldbuilding from fully taking effect but I feel like the film makes up for it with a strict, streamlined steady pace that never loses whatever momentum it builds up and keeps it flowing naturally. Not one scene feels too rushed or too slow; nice equilibrium of highs and lows.
DreamWorks has made plenty of movies that talk on themes about prejudice, throning outside the box, deviating from stereotypes that label someone a certain way and how destiny is the path that you choose and this film is no exception. What it has as a story is by-the-numbers stuff but given Dreamwork’s preference for simplicity over subtlety when prioritizing the fundamental aspects of storytelling more than anything else in their films sometimes, sometimes less is more and this story of not judging a book by its cover is the best vessel for the use of that adage: it isn’t anything more than the sum of its parts because it doesn’t need to be.
Yet another movie that proves that its concept having predictable story beats and cliche concepts isn't always a damning factor if it's executed well and with clear effort put into it.