Looney Tunes Back in Action

A Film Review By The Mike

Rating: PG
Starring: Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Brendan Fraser
Directed By: Joe Dante

Final Grade:

To enjoy a film like Looney Tunes: Back in Action, one must discard any care for real-life and its conventions, while at the same time embracing them. We know things will not work out like they do in real-life, but like they do in the movies. The guy will get the girl, the hero will save the day, the evil villain will laugh maniacally, and there will always be a Wal-Mart around when you need one. It’s the type of movie that requires nothing of its audience, especially when it expects that audience to be mostly comprised of children.

Regardless, I think that the lasting appeal of a Looney Tunes film, especially one like Back in Action, belongs to the adult viewer that recognizes all the conventions of the cartoon characters. This film is silly in the same way the Looney Tunes always have been, while at the same time openly spoofing its own approach at entertainment. What results is a surprisingly funny and intelligent ride, which the mature viewer will have no problem identifying with.

The story of Looney Tunes: Back in Action brings us a heavy dose of the two characters made most famous by the Looney Tunes name. Bugs Bunny, everyone’s icon, is still just that, entertaining all with little to no effort. At his side is the persistent Daffy Duck, who’s grown used to being second fiddle to Bugs, despite his efforts to prove to all that he really is the hero, which results in his being fired. As noted early in the film by our heroine (Jenna Elfman, playing a Warner Brothers Exec. who’s trying hard to please the bosses) Bugs Bunny’s appeal is to almost everyone, while Daffy’s appeal is to about “80 fat guys living in basements.”

But we also know that if we have a human heroine we need a human hero, and the one were given is played by the most Looney Tune like actor I know, Brendan Fraser. It’s a perfect casting idea, and he wanders along as the bumbling hero, perfectly complimenting Daffy, whose quest to be the hero is finally coming true. Like most of the others he spoofs himself quite well, especially in a speech where his “professional stunt man” character explains that he was in “those Mummy movies” more than “that Brendan Fraser guy.”

The film is directed by Joe Dante, a director who brought us such amazing works as Gremlins and The ‘Burbs during the 80’s, and who shows a real love for his craft and his subject matter here. There’s a real love for the Looney Tunes here, and anyone viewing can tell that this isn’t simply an attempt to draw money from a dying cash cow, but an attempt to keep the cow alive. It’s wonderful to see him back in form.

If that’s not enough, we also have Steve Martin playing the evil chairman of the Acme corporation, former-Bond Timothy Dalton playing Fraser’s Super Spy father, Joan Cusack playing an alien researcher at Area 52 (Where they’ve “been keeping secrets from Americans since 1947″), and Heather Locklear dancing around in lingerie before putting on a skin-tight leather suit and admitting she’s really an assassin for hire. There is a God…Heather be thy name…Schwing!

Sorry…I was off-topic just then. The point is that if you have any of your childhood wonder left in your body you should get a kick out of seeing Bugs, Daffy and the whole crew yak it up one more time. There’s no in-depth plot or style or anything else, just fun. And for me, that’s enough.

P.S. – Thank God it’s not Space Jam! Grr…Space Jam angers The Mike.
P.P.S. – Biggest complaint I have with this film = not enough Tweety!
P.P.P.S. – It still rocked, though.

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