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The Bad Guys: release date, cast, trailer and everything we know about the animated film

Mr. Wolf in The Bad Guys
Mr. Wolf in The Bad Guys (Image credit: Dreamworks/Universal )

Based on Aaron Blabey’s novel of the same name, The Bad Guys is headed to theaters, showing families just how hard it is for bad guys to be good in the world of animation. The Universal Pictures project hopes to join a long line of successful animated movies created with the partnership of Universal and Dreamworks, which includes Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, Madagascar, The Boss Baby 2: Family Business and more. 

Here’s everything we know about The Bad Guys.  

When is The Bad Guys release date?  

The Bad Guys opens in theatres nationwide in the US on Friday, April 22. In great news for would-be viewers in the UK, the film is now in theaters.  

The Bad Guys reviews 

Although The Bad Guys has yet to be released nationwide in the US, the reviews are already rolling in. On Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab), the film has a 96% "Fresh" rating as of April 4. Over at Metacritic (opens in new tab) however, the film is receiving more mixed reviews. Again, as of April 4, The Bad Guys has a rating of 55 out of 100 on the platform.  

The Bad Guys plot

The Bad Guys

(Image credit: Dreamworks/Universal)

Dreamworks describes the premise of The Bad Guys as the following: 

“In the new action-comedy from DreamWorks Animation, based on the New York Times best-selling book series, a crackerjack criminal crew of animal outlaws are about to attempt their most challenging con yet — becoming model citizens.

"Never have there been five friends as infamous as The Bad Guys — dashing pickpocket Mr. Wolf, seen-it-all safecracker Mr. Snake, chill master-of-disguise Mr. Shark, short-fused muscle Mr. Piranha and sharp-tongued expert hacker Ms. Tarantula, aka Webs.

"But when, after years of countless heists and being the world’s most-wanted villains, the gang is finally caught, Mr. Wolf brokers a deal (that he has no intention of keeping) to save them all from prison: The Bad Guys will go good.

"Under the tutelage of their mentor Professor Marmalade, an arrogant but adorable guinea pig, the Bad Guys set out to fool the world that they’ve been transformed. Along the way though, Mr. Wolf begins to suspect that doing good for real may give him what he’s always secretly longed for, acceptance. So when a new villain threatens the city, can Mr. Wolf persuade the rest of the gang to become … The Good Guys?"

The Bad Guys trailer

Universal Pictures was kind enough to not only release one trailer for The Bad Guys but two. Both trailers make the case for the film being a great choice for families looking for movies to watch in the spring. 

The Bad Guys cast 

Leading the group of bad guys turned "goodish" in the Dreamworks project, is Academy Award-winner Sam Rockwell playing the role of Mr. Wolf. The actor has been quite the force in Hollywood earning an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of George W. Bush in Vice and a win for his performance as Dixon in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Joining Rockwell is funnyman Craig Robinson as Shark. Arguably most recognized for his roles as Darryl in the American version of The Office and Nick in the Hot Tub Time Machine movies, Robinson also has experience in the animated world. He’s previously voiced characters in American Dad, The Cleveland Show and Big Mouth

Additionally, it’s worth noting that Zazie Beetz is in the film. Beetz is having a busy spring as she is also celebrating the return of the hit show Atlanta.  

Here’s a list of The Bad Guys main cast:  

  • Sam Rockwell as Mr. Wolf
  • Marc Maron as Snake
  • Craig Robinson as Shark
  • Anthony Ramos as Piranha
  • Awkwafina as Tarantula 
  • Richard Ayoade as Professor Mamalade
  • Zazie Beetz as Diane Foxington AKA The Crimson Paw
  • Lilly Singh as Tiffany Fluffit 
  • Alex Borstein as Police Chief Misty Luggins

The Bad Guys director 

Directing The Bad Guys is Pierre Perifel. The movie marks Perifel's biggest directorial project of his career. However, he is certainly no novice in the entertainment industry. He’s previously worked as a lead animator on Kung Fu Panda 2 and Rise of the Guardians. Additionally, he’s worked on Shrek Forever After and The Illusionist.  

Terrell Smith has a diverse writing background having penned material for a wide array of clients including the federal government and Bravo television personalities.  When he’s not writing as Terrell, he’s writing under his pseudonym Tavion Scott, creating scripts for his audio drama podcasts. Terrell is a huge fan of great storytelling when it comes to television and film. Some of his favorite shows include The CrownWandaVision, Abbot Elementary and Godfather of HarlemAnd a fun fact is he's completely dialed into the TLC 90 Day Fiancé universe.