Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003)

Disney, as far as I’m concerned, can suck it. Growing up, I was a Looney Tunes guy, spending my cartoon watching days plopped on the sofa watching Bugs, Daffy, and the host of other (and many potentially racist) characters have crazy adventures and inflict violence on each other that would have been horrific to view in real life. Hell, I’ll even tune into Space Jam whenever it’s on, because of the untapped comedy potential that is Charles Barkley as an actor. In 2003, the Looney Tunes property made its return to the silver screen with the film Looney Tunes: Back in Action and I avoided it like the plague because I wanted to know what vaginas felt like (I was still a few years off…you’re welcome for that knowledge). Now, it is 2010 and technology hath bringith to me another chance to watch this film…and all in all, I kind of regret it.

In the universe this movie takes place in, cartoon and live action live hand in hand in the real world. Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck aren’t just on paper, they are legitimate celebrities with houses and awards and all that junk. One day on set, Daffy gets furious at having to take another shot in the face by Elmer Fudd during a taping of a new show and demands a change. During a meeting at Warner Bros. Studio, the president of comedy Kate (Jenna Elfman) fires Daffy. Daffy escapes being escorted off the set and security guard DJ Drake (Brendan Fraser) chases after him, causing in the collapse of the famed Warner Bros. tower (poor Animaniacs!!!) and his firing. Dejected, DJ heads home, where he lives with his father Damien (former 007 Timothy Dalton), the biggest movie star in the world thanks to his many many spy films. Daffy invites himself over, and as DJ tries to get him out of the house, he gets a message from his dad, who apparently is also a spy in real life. He tells DJ to go to Las Vegas and find the mysterious Blue Monkey diamond, which has the power to turn people into monkeys (I don’t write this stuff folks), and is sought after by the evil head of the ACME Corporation Mr. Chairman (Steve Martin). DJ and Daffy head to Vegas to save his father, and are joined by Bugs and Kate, who has been told by the studio to get Daffy back at all costs. There, they all try to evade capture by a host of Looney Tunes baddies and come into contact with different celebrities, hijinks ensue, and so on and so on.

Unfortunately, the comedy presented in the old Looney Tunes shorts is not on display here. The jokes, for the most part, are just plain awful and lame, especially on the part of Fraser, who just delivers them horribly. However, there are a fair amount of in-jokes through out the movie that hit their mark. I especially dug when the animated Shaggy confronted Matthew Lillard about hamming it up in the live action Scooby Doo movie. Still, most of the other jokes are just…well, painful.

The rest of the live action cast are unbearable as well. Jenna Elfman looks like she’d rather be anywhere else in the world and her character has no real rhythm or usefulness. The cameos are hit or miss, and Steve Martin has a horrible accent that is grating to the ears. However, he does deliver the slapstick, which is vintage Martin and actually was kind of funny. Plus, props to having Bill Goldberg in it. He doesn’t speak, but his mere presence makes me giggle.

The best scene of the whole movie is aimed at adults and involves a host of 50’s sci-fi monsters. I won’t spoil it because you’re dying to see this, but I was laughing out loud at all the references. Definitely a joy for any 50’s film nerd.

From a pure cinematic standpoint, Looney Tunes: Back in Action is a mess of a movie, but considering I’m not the audience they had in mind, I can forgive that. Kids are forgiving of plot holes and nonsensical twists, so I can suck it up and ignore it. If you’re a Looney Tunes fan of old, you’ll dig some of the in-jokes and seeing your favorite characters make cameos. If not, you’ll find the whole movie obnoxious, loud, and completely a cash grab that failed miserably. Someday, I hope they make another Looney Tunes movie, because once again, Disney can suck it.

Final Verdict:


Looney Tunes: Back in Action on Netflix Watch Instantly!


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