Looney Tunes: Back In Action

2003, Movie, PG, 90 mins

Review

LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION
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The Looney Tunes properties are on the loose again, and director Joe Dante's game attempt to blend them with live actors is unquestionably funnier than the big-screen debacle that was SPACE JAM (1996). During a board meeting with the brothers Warner (Dan and Don Stanton), a disgruntled Daffy Duck (voice of Joe Alasky) expresses his distaste for the preferential treatment the studio gives Bugs Bunny (also Alasky). Vice President of Comedy Kate Houghton (Jenna Elfman) cites the duck's waning fan base of angry fat guys in basements and rashly hands the indignant Daffy his walking papers. Daffy wreaks havoc while being escorted from the lot, but amiable security guard and aspiring stuntman DJ Drake (Brendan Fraser) takes the blame. Daffy is bent on becoming DJ's new pal, and DJ's unsuccessful attempts to lose the duck are foiled when Daffy becomes embroiled in a spy caper involving DJ's famous father, the James Bond wannabe Damian Drake (former Bond Timothy Dalton). The elder Drake is kidnapped, leaving behind a cryptic message about Vegas and the mysterious diamond known as the Blue Monkey. Before you can say "What's up, Doc?," the unlucky duo is en route to Sin City, where they seek out Dusty Tails (Heather Locklear), a scantily clad pop singer who has information about Damian's kidnapper, the Acme Corporation's Mr. Chairman (Steve Martin). Dusty hands them a clue and warns them about Mr. Chairman's dastardly plans for world domination once he gets his hands on the Blue Diamond. Meanwhile, Kate is taking flack for her unfair treatment of Daffy and is desperate to woo him back. With the assistance of Bugs, and Damian Drake's super spy vehicle, Kate heads to Vegas on her own mission. Nowhere near as original or clever an animation/live action hybrid as WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? (1988), this light comedy includes some witty dialogue, but crowds the screen with as many classic animated characters as possible. Everyone from Marvin the Martian to Pepe Le Pew makes an appearance — there's even a passing encounter with Hanna-Barbera star Scooby-Doo. Fraser's goofiness matches that of the animated characters and he cheerfully pokes fun at his celebrity persona, while Elfman is oddly appealing as a strong woman who must seek help from a wascally wabbit. Unfortunately, the nearly unrecognizable Martin seems confused about what sort of villain he wants to play, and comes off as a bizarre combination of Pee-Wee Herman, Martin Short's SCTV character Ed Grimley and AUSTIN POWERS's Dr. Evil. leave a comment --Angel Cohn

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