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Worth A Look42.11%
Just Average: 9.21%
Pretty Crappy: 2.63%
Sucks: 3.95%

6 reviews, 40 user ratings

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Looney Tunes: Back in Action
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by Erik Childress

"The Perfect Match Delivers The Funniest Film Of The Year"
5 stars

I was thinking the other day about the movies Iíve seen in a theater where I was laughing so hard that being administered Nitrous Oxide would have actually been a step back. The first times I saw The Naked Gun, Thereís Something About Mary and the South Park feature all rose to the forefront of my cackling explosion memories. And this was all before I walked into Looney Tunes: Back In Action and realized that my laughter may have drowned out half the jokes for the kiddies in the audience. No matter as they were jokes liable to fly right past the youngsters and into the collective of Looney Tunes admirers everywhere who understand that director Joe Dante was born to make this film. And what a beautiful gift heís delivered.

What Dante has done here is nothing short of rewarding us for growing up. Heís taken all of our childhood memories of Warner Bros.í classic cartoon characters and thrust them years later into an asteroid field of in-jokes that fly at you faster than the Road Runner with a jet pack. Counting the jokes here would be akin to clocking the F-Bombs laid in Scarface and as one person gets to the final credits after three hours, another will still be triple-checking the first half-hour of Back In Action.

As clothesline plots go, Dante and Lord knows how many screenwriters (Larry Doyle gets sole credit), have constructed one that lies at the whim of the next reference. Warner Bros. is dealing with the ongoing feud between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Studio exec Kate Houghton (Jenna Elfman) makes the bold suggestion to fire the Duck, which comes back to haunt her when the ďRabbit SeasonĒ interplay just doesnít work anymore. Right there, Iíve given you a brief example of how your own knowledge of the original Looney Tunes will elevate your appreciation of the film.

Brendan Fraser plays DJ Drake, a security guard on the WB set with aspirations of becoming a stunt man. When Daffyís antics get him fired, he will soon be thrust into an adventure to save his kidnapped father, WBís biggest star Damien Drake (Timothy Dalton), who plays a Bond-like spy in the movies when heís really a spy in real-life played by a real-life actor who played Bond but also played a spy pretending to be an actor in The Rocketeer. Levels, Jerry. Levels.

The humans mostly relegate themselves to playing straight man (or woman) to the toons. Fraser has always proven to be a likable presence and has a goofy enough sensibility to mock himself at any turn providing some very funny moments for him. (Not to mention providing the voice of the Tasmanian Devil.) But itís Steve Martin, in some remarkable effort to keep up with the manic pacing of your average 7-minute cartoon, delivers a performance as the villainous head of the Acme Corporation. that slaps his wild-and-crazy days right into submission. I almost couldnít believe what I was witnessing. As if he were possessed by his sadistic dentist from Little Shop of Horrors, Lily Tomlin and both Festrunk Brothers, Martin is defying gravity in such an over-the-top way that even Jim Carrey would have to stand aside. Bravo, Steve.

With Bugs and Daffy continually fighting for supremacy, its fitting that thereís no one true star of the film and that includes the filmmakers and its animators. Everyone gets to take the center of this three-ring circus providing a great, big something for all ages. Kids will dig the inherent slapstick, as funny today as it was 70 years ago. Bigger kids (in age or soul) will love some of the more subversive humor. Dante admirers will adore his inclusion (with a Looney Tunes tie-in, of course) of an ďArea 52Ē sequence where the appreciation of 1950s/60s science fiction will prove a benefit to getting the joke. Then your animation junkies out there will kneel at the altar of the chase through the Lourve. No sequence this year comes close to providing huge laughs through a mouth already agape at how wonderful this tribute is to every conceivable type of art whether it be paintings, animation or flat-out moviemaking.

When Dante made his sequel to Gremlins, he was aware there wasnít anyplace to go with it except to spoof sequels and make what he calls a ďlive action Looney Tunes film.Ē Back In Action is Gremlins 2 on some new potent form of cocaine. Jokes donít even have time to fall flat since another three are ready to be put into play in this animated pinball machine. It doesnít have the groundbreaking factor of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but to acknowledge any film in the same breath as Robert Zemeckisí masterpiece is a tribute into of itself.

This is Danteís Toontown and heís going to appease every Looney fan from womb to grave. I canít recall any of the Tunesí major characters who donít make an appearance in cameo or extended form, which shows a filmmaker with a respect for both his subject matter and the audience. Thatís why Dante will always rank in the tops in my book. I grew up with his films much the same way I grew up with Saturday morning cartoons and to see them meld in some magical whirlwind of explosive laughs and useless knowledge is enough to make my year no matter what age I am. I laughed harder at this film than any all year and I know I missed some of the references. Will it play the same way for others who do a fly-by right past Area 52 or who donít grasp the eight levels on why B-movie king Roger Cormanís next film is so hilarious? Hard to say, but if youíre a Looney Tunes fan, forget about Space Jam, high-tail it to the theater and unwrap your present.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8322&reviewer=198
originally posted: 11/14/03 01:00:43
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User Comments

8/30/12 roscoe so fast paced and so many great gags allow you to not notice few weaknesses 4 stars
10/01/09 Jeff Wilder Entertaining mix of animated and human comedy. 4 stars
11/21/08 Shaun Wallner Hilarious Movie! 4 stars
10/19/08 Samantha Pruitt pretty funny, cartoons doing people things always cracks me up! 4 stars
10/29/06 AJ Muller Awesome and hilarious (piss on you, Space Jam) - thank the Lord for Joe Dante. 5 stars
6/29/06 George A fun movie with a silly plot. That's where I laugh. Ha,Ha,Ha,Ha! 4 stars
5/15/06 N/A (John Doe) better than most movies 4 stars
3/27/06 Brian Meyer Very funny, but the toons got pushed into background in 2nd 1/2. 5 stars
5/11/05 tatum Sometimes awkward, but still funny (and, yes, better than "Space Jam") 4 stars
2/06/05 Jeff Anderson Better, MUCH BETTER than that horrible SPACE JAM! Joe Dante was certainly right for this!!! 5 stars
10/31/04 G-man excellent movie!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/25/04 Phil Crap crap crap. the trouser bit was funny. for kids only! not even stoners can enjoy this 2 stars
8/24/04 K Man sucks d*#% 1 stars
8/22/04 jmsynth More laughs then almost any film this year. After SJ, nice2remember these arent just 4kids 5 stars
7/31/04 Jim Deeney Totally Wicked 5 stars
7/22/04 Conor Great excellent, very funny 5 stars
3/30/04 Ken Stryker No Offence But This Wasn't Worth The Rental, Space Jam is way better 1 stars
3/14/04 Foghorn This was 1 of the best movies ever 5 stars
2/27/04 Ian Fairholm Much better than I'd expected, reaching genius level on occasions, but inconsistent 4 stars
2/27/04 mike It's got razor-sharp wit, and it's a Daffy Duck movie. What's not to like? 5 stars
2/22/04 Jiz Great movie with or without the nostalgia trip 5 stars
1/24/04 agent222 very entertaining 4 stars
1/15/04 Gretchen Seitz Great for kid-0riented stuff! Too bad they let Heather Flopsneer in it. 4 stars
1/14/04 Betty White Like "Space Jam", it has its moments, but runs out of steam way before the climax. 2 stars
1/03/04 Farnq Y I will do good this time Pa..SHADDUP, and let's get going...but Henry 5 stars
12/31/03 Bill I went with my 9 year old daughter and we both enjoyed it. 4 stars
12/23/03 Twisted Goon Jesus Christ McKenna, Don't say Space Jam! This movie is excellent for animation freaks!!! 5 stars
12/01/03 Guertin S Sweet mother of God! SWEET! 5 stars
11/23/03 Chrys fantastic 5 stars
11/22/03 ross hendrick the heyday of the looney tunes has passed 3 stars
11/18/03 Chris I loved it. Went in with low expections and got alot of laughs. See it. 4 stars
11/18/03 michaelb14 DUCK DODGERSSSS TO THE RESCUE 5 stars
11/17/03 McKenna KICKED SPACE JAM'S SORRY ASS!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
11/17/03 Jim The Freak A satirical, hysterical masterpiece that was MADE for movie freaks! 5 stars
11/15/03 bender best movie of the whole fuggin year. daffy was the hero! 5 stars
11/14/03 Titus Steve Martin wasn't great, but everyone/thing else was AWESOME! 5 stars
11/14/03 Jon Lyrik Steve Martin and the characters are truly priceless. 4 stars
11/13/03 Schmitty The first time in a while where a movie does justice to the characters. 5 stars
11/09/03 cutie classic characters: both animated and live! 5 stars
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  14-Nov-2003 (PG)
  DVD: 02-Mar-2004



Directed by
  Joe Dante

Written by
  Larry Doyle

  Brendan Fraser
  Jenna Elfman
  Steve Martin
  Joan Cusack
  Timothy Dalton
  Heather Locklear

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