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‘The Bad Guys’ Review: Criminals Go Straight — In a Roundabout Way — in a Fun, Frenetic Kids’ Caper

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Guy Lodge Film CriticIt’s a problem that has plagued countless kids’ movies — and more than a few grownup ones — over the course of film history: The villain is conceived and performed with such lip-smacking relish that the nominal hero seems a simpering drag to be around by comparison.

Conscious of that perennial imbalance, “The Bad Guys” takes a simple solution and multiplies it, making a sympathetic protagonist of not just one supposedly dastardly antagonist, but several.

Taking five anthropomorphised animals generally portrayed as violent terrors in the cartoon world — led by a big bad wolf, no less — and centering them as a chummy, lovable criminal collective, this bouncy debut feature from French animator Pierre Perifel gets a lot of value out of that neat high concept.

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