Looney Tunes: Back In Action

Looney Tunes: Back In Action


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Given access to Warner Brothers' backlog of cartoon characters, director Joe (Gremlins) Dante makes a hog's pail of it. He is not helped by a script of such blinding stupidity, it can't see the sense in making sense.

The wizards in Special Effects have perfected the art of a toon/live action mix, so that Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, the unofficial stars of this movie, can share screentime with Brendan Fraser and Jenna Elfman, without looking self-conscious.

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DJ (Fraser), a stuntman, whose dad is a James-a-like Bond figure, played (nudge nudge) by Timothy (The Living Daylights) Dalton, finds himself at odds, even at war, with Mr Chairman (Steve Martin), the artlessly awful CEO of ACME, a media conglomerate, because of a lost diamond, called The Blue Monkey, which is twice the size of a chicken's bladder.

The plot flushes through your head faster than a pint of shandy. You come out of the cinema and experience a Paycheck moment: all memory has been erased.

Bugs and Daffy rush about with DJ and Kate (Elfman), a deeply serious and ultimately boring VP of Comedy for ACME's arch rival, searching for The Blue Monkey. The Chairman's heavies are doing ditto, with orders to eliminate the opposition by any means their half baked imaginations can conceive. They tie DJ's dad to a railway line, with explosives strapped his body, in order to entice Bugs and his mates to come to the rescue.

Dante throws as many cartoon favourites, such a Tweetie Pie and Porky Pig, into the pot for no good reason, other than they are there, so why not? Live people are not the same as compuer-generated animals. When 50-ton weights fall on their nuts from a great height, they don't get up. It's a different kind of humour.

Fraser makes a Herculean effort to squeeze laughs from this stone. He's a generous, unselfish actor at the best of times and here, at the worst of times, he does not appear to mind having his scenes stolen by a rabbit and a bird. Elfman is as mind-watering as an unripe avocado and Martin, in a brown wig, behaves like Just William's unhinged American cousin.

This isn't comedy. It's a marketing tool for Warner Bros and a backhanded tribute to the late Chuck Jones, who will be turning in his grave if he knew how they were treating his best friends.

That's All Folks!

Reviewed on: 13 Feb 2004
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Looney Tunes: Back In Action packshot
Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Brendan Fraser are searching for a big blue diamond.
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Director: Joe Dante

Writer: Larry Doyle

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Steve Martin, Timothy Dalton, Heather Locklear, Joan Cusack, Bill Goldberg, Don Stanton, Dan Stanton, Roger Corman

Year: 2003

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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