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Stream it or ignore it?


The bad guys: a very bad vacation (now streaming on Netflix) proves that bad guys like to celebrate Christmas too – at least in their own way. This holiday special is technically a prequel to the 2022 one The villains animated feature film – based on Aaron Blabey’s bestselling children’s book series – and set in the days leading up to the events of the film, during which they (spoiler alert) somehow discovered their consciousness and stopped being so bad. That is to say, their absolutely positive nastiness creates a bit of comic irony for this clever little Christmas song. Notably, none of the film’s famous voices return to their roles, but don’t blame them; There’s no law against other, less famous people being funny, you know.

The essential: The fact is that the bad guys actually to want be on Santa’s naughty list. They are interested in coal! To each their own, right? And now here they are – Mr. Wolf (Michael Godere), Mr. Shark (Ezekiel Ajeijbe), Mr. Piranha (Raul Ceballos), Mr. Snake (Chris Diamantopoulos) and Ms. Tarantula (Mallory Low) – cruising through town . in their convertible on Christmas Eve. They explore their favorite establishments, the ones most likely to be robbed, including the stinky cheese shop and the giant corporate bank. It’s all part of their holiday tradition: expecting everyone to stay home on Christmas Day, leaving the streets and stores empty and making it easier for thieves to steal their lives.

The holiday heist is how they celebrate the joy and togetherness of the season – and at this point, Mr. Wolf turns to the camera and explains how this story takes place when “the bad guys were still bad,” proving thus his great and powerful omniscience, something one would think he could use to make flying even easier. I mean, omniscience gives him godlike control over the narrative, so why he doesn’t use that power to put bank security guards to sleep or whatever is beyond me.

Then again, how fun would that be? So let’s stop poking holes in the configuration and get back to the synthesis. The townspeople are, in the words of the Bad Guys, “terribly emotionally attached” to a giant inflatable Santa Claus parade, which our anti-heroes accidentally destroy. You would think that as villains, they would like to see the residents suffer, but the effect thwarts their plan: without their giant Santa, the citizens have lost the spirit of Christmas and will no longer celebrate with gifts, milk and political disputes. glazed ham and will return to their daily activities to ensure that their cheese and money are not stolen. The villains consider alternatives, like building a new Santa Claus balloon (it’s horribly ugly!) or unleashing RoboClaus (it’s terribly threatening!) to boost morale, but they don’t get off the ground. Then Mr. Wolf came up with the idea of ​​stealing gifts from chain stores and handing them out to everyone like Santa, which is ingenious because it means they help sad people be happy so they can steal them and make them sad again. NOW It is the kind of circular, convoluted logic a person can sustain!


What films will this remind you of? : This special sticks to the spirit of the film by referencing films that children should not see, for example via a good, solid Hans Gruber joke (further strengthening the argument that Die hard is indeed a Christmas movie). Otherwise, we can’t deploy a Santa robot without summoning Santa’s infamous murderous automaton since Futurama.

Performance value Watching Audience: Mallory Low does such an impression of Awkwafina that one wonders if “Mallory Low” is a pseudonym for an Awkwafina AI robot voice actor.

Memorable dialogues: Mr. Piranha idolizes Scrooge: “This guy is a legend!” He parties with ghosts and wears a dress to bed! »

Sex and skin: None.

Our opinion : Very bad vacation does just enough with its premise – bad guys do good things to further enable their villainy – to rely on its modest charms. The same was true of the feature, which perhaps tried a little too hard to appeal to both adults and children with its mix of heist movie spoofing and talking animal silliness, but the formula works reasonably well. So once again we get a flash heist montage complete with voiceover (a clear parody of Guy Ritchie) and goofy hijinks (a side shot in which the bad guys hijack a radio station that replaces dark death metal with Christmas music). , and so everyone is happy, right? Yes of course why not?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the 21st century has yet to produce anything that is of the younger generation. Grumpy Or A Charlie Brown Christmas (Or Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas!). That won’t be the case either, but there are plenty Boss Baby/Shrek/How to train your dragon/etc. The Dreamworks Xmas-derived fodder is already available (largely also on Netflix) which Very bad vacation matches the tone and aesthetic. This is all in good fun (OK, maybe not baby boss), not to say quite funny. But there is much worse intellectual property to exploit for holiday cheer (go away, Trolls), and the self-aware winks Bad guys is entertaining enough to keep the bah-humbugs away for half an hour.

Our call: This Bad guys Christmas madness isn’t so bad. Spread it.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.



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