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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Space Jam (1996)



Reviews and Comments

"What kind of a Mickey Mouse organization would name their team the Ducks?"

Team Michael Jordan up with the Looney Tunes to make a basketball movie? It's an odd double billing, and the match is forced. The plot, which is almost biographical if you take out the Toons and leave Jordan in, presents the first problem. Aliens have captured the Toons and will make them slave workers at an amusement park if they don't win a basketball game against their own players. But the aliens have borrowed the talent from assorted NBA players to help them win. Desperate, Bugs and the gang seek out Michael Jordan and ask them for his help. Problem: since when does Bugs ever need help getting out of anything?

Sure, it's nice to see familiar animated faces on the screen again, but full-length movies just aren't their medium. Gone is the wit and personality of the early short cartoons where these characters thrived. Daffy Duck is handled pretty well, incarnated as his earlier loony self rather than his later sarcastic personality, and Bugs isn't terrible. But the others are stripped of their identity. It was doomed from the start -- how can the Looney Tunes work together on the same team? Bugs and Elmer on the same side? Preposterous!

The real life portion of the film fares better. Michael Jordan isn't much of an actor, but he's got charisma and the obvious ball-playing talent that makes him fun to watch. Both he and the movie in general poke fun at Jordan and his image, and that's a nice touch, too.

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