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Overall Rating
2.48

Awesome: 7.69%
Worth A Look: 13.46%
Just Average: 32.69%
Pretty Crappy: 11.54%
Sucks34.62%

2 reviews, 40 user ratings


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Space Jam
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Unabashed corporate cinema."
1 stars

The surface conflict in 'Space Jam' is between two cartoon hoop teams, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out who's really facing off: the mighty Disney and Time-Warner.

Disney is the Goliath of feature animation, and now here comes Warner with its $90 million slingshot, hoping to outdo Toy Story and distract kids from 101 Dalmatians. Of course you realize ... this means war. Mostly on gullible kids.

Space Jam isn't the first movie based on a commercial (remember Ernest P. Worrell?), but it's arguably the most cynical and definitely the most expensive (which amounts to the same thing). In its aggressive slam-dunk tactics, it does outdo Toy Story, whose corporate subtext was there if you were a grouch (like me) and wanted to look for it. You don't have to look for it in Space Jam. It's a stroke of evil marketing genius.

As the world knows by now, Michael Jordan (playing himself in a monotonous good-sport performance) is recruited by the desperate Looney Tunes to help them win a basketball game against "the Monstars" -- aliens from Moron Mountain. Wearing my grouchy subtext hat, I'd say Jordan is recruited by the desperate Warner Brothers to help them wipe the court with the Mouse. If it sells sneakers and burgers, so much the better.

Space Jam is not all bad, which makes it all the more painful. The Looney Tunes Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Elmer Fudd, and so on barge in and let fly with the self-mocking anarchy that introduced postmodernism to the masses fifty years ago. Some of the manic parody is funny; the Pulp Fiction goof is the movie's biggest laugh. Yet the toons get so little screen time as individuals that Space Jam is like a bad Robert Altman movie -- full of cameos by great actors who never get to do much.

One legitimate criticism of Toy Story was that it was very much a boy story. The otherwise testosterone-drunk Space Jam tries to balance the scales with a new character, Lola Bunny (whose name I had to look up that's how strong an impression she makes). Lola has a catch-phrase ("Don't call me doll," perhaps a tribute to that modern masterpiece Barb Wire) and a mean dribble, but she's as colorless as the others here.

As for the guest humans, selected to please grown-ups, the unbilled Bill Murray has one or two witty moments playing himself: a sad sack with very little dignity left (which he'll be if he keeps doing movies like this). Wayne Knight does his annoying Newman shtick, Theresa Randle (Girl 6) is wasted as Jordan's wife, and Danny DeVito (as the voice of the Monstar leader) sounds as bored as he must have been. Various hoop stars walk through in an amiable daze of non-acting.

All of this adds up to one big, sad commercial for itself. Will kids like Space Jam? That isn't the point: The marketing tells them they have to like it. The movie is less self-mocking than self-fulfilling.

If the toons lose the game, the Monstars will enslave them and use them as cheesy entertainment in a Moron Mountain theme park. That's meant as a dig at Disney. But in 'Space Jam,' Warner reveals itself as Moron Mountain, pimping once-great toons. What a revoltin' development.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=662&reviewer=416
originally posted: 02/02/07 13:52:04
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User Comments

9/02/12 roscoe ok, but jordan and lola and the monstars just suck and get in the way 3 stars
3/29/10 PAUL SHORTT CUTE, WITH GOOD COMPUTER GENERATED SPECIAL EFFECTS 3 stars
8/22/09 JM Synth I was 10 when this came out and Gonsalves is right on the money. An insult to the Tunes 1 stars
7/25/09 the dork knight Didn't age well. Wayne Knight is still the man, though 3 stars
7/07/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* A fun little flick to watch with kids. Enjoyable for the most part. 3 stars
2/18/07 Nick Maday I was a kid when this came out and I loved it. Not so much anymore. 4 stars
2/09/07 Heather The kids crave it and I appreciate real actors more after seeing the sports heros 'act.' 3 stars
2/09/07 Soranos Not such a great movie. 1 stars
2/08/07 Raph Branca One word...poo 1 stars
3/03/06 Quigley there's something great about seeing the Looney Tunes together all at once. simply great 4 stars
1/26/06 JASTINE SARAH CUETO IT'S GREAT! 4 stars
11/22/05 she fang i liked it.do your comments have to be so vulgar? 4 stars
9/11/05 Total Crap Fuckin' Idiotic little kids movie with little kid rap songs. 'Tarded. 1 stars
8/24/05 ES This movie embodies how kids movies have been dumbed down and ruined for profit 1 stars
1/14/05 Dan Good for the kids 4 stars
10/18/04 Daveman Whoops, look at that I gave it three stars, silly me. 1 stars
8/19/04 Sean Scanlan Most scenes are embarasing 2 stars
6/27/04 Monster W. Kung A stinkin' rotten piece of shit!!! 1 stars
5/31/04 Sean Scanlan Some good scenes, but it is mostly boring 2 stars
5/16/04 Daveman Looney Tunes go contemporary? FUCK OFF!!! 3 stars
12/31/03 Jon Lyrik Pretty damn terrible, nothing but a Nike commercial and Jordan asskissing. See BIA instead. 2 stars
8/30/03 Kitty Kelso some funny lines and good music, but Bill Murray's cameo was my only REAL fav part 3 stars
8/15/03 bitch a bunch of garbage that isnt funny at all,a waste of a movie 1 stars
8/05/03 Double G jjjuuurrrgggeeennn 5 stars
12/12/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would have to agree that after you have seen this so many times! 3 stars
11/22/01 Andrew Carden The Soundtrack Was Pretty Good, but The Rest Was Totally Boring. 2 stars
9/05/01 Butterbean Something to shut your kids up with 3 stars
9/02/01 Kenny Thejet The film was awesome, I like it a lot. 5 stars
7/29/01 lucas isleno awesome 5 stars
7/26/01 moviegoer Michael Jordon CAN'T act, Richard 2 stars
6/25/01 Robert Burton 5 stars
4/24/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) This works in theory--MJ & The Looney Tunes are classic Americana--but essentially a scam. 3 stars
3/24/01 Monster W. Kung Tiresome garbage with no laughs. Sucks all ass. 1 stars
12/05/00 Cristopher Revilla movie was ok, well, at least jordan did well in his role 3 stars
9/25/00 Jed Underrated and not bad at all. 4 stars
2/18/00 Rock Stansy Watch this if you're retarted! For the dogs! Stinks like shit! Should I go on? 1 stars
2/18/00 Richard Wright No Roger Rabbit, but surprisingly funny and well worth seeing. I never knew MJ could act. 4 stars
9/30/98 Johny Take Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and lose all the humor and this is it 2 stars
8/29/98 Mister Whoopee One reason this movie came about. Easy money from our pockets. 1 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Should have been a short film for before a real movie. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  15-Nov-1996 (PG)

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