That's why Looney Tunes: Back in Action might be a tad difficult to review. While on one hand the preservation of the Shticky ten minute shorts is important, a full length adventure is always fun. While on one hand the jokes fall short sometimes, on the other, there are a lot of great funnies to laugh at. While on one hand you've got a lot of silliness, on the other, that's the point! And while on one hand true fans (like Moi) might be a little unnerved at the mishandling of some characters (and the deletion of others), it's hard to deny that this movie feels like it was specifically made for the fans, filled with laugh points that only a true fan might get!
Say... that's eight hands! I'm Grabby!
Meanwhile, unfortunately, the insane Chairman of the ACME Corporation (Natch') has other plans for the destruction of our heroes as we know them. What follows is a cross country caper where just about all of the Merrie Melodies Gang pops up once or twice to help or thwart Bugs, Daffy, DJ (Brendan Fraser in search for his Daddy Timothy Dalton, not kidding) and a regretful WB Studio Boss named Kate (Jenna Elfman turning out to be really hot, man)!
Typical Looney Tunes mayhem ensues, which is usually great. Sadly, sometimes it isn't, and it feels a little tired seeing the repetitive nature of some of these jokes. Daffy's obnoxious, someone hits him. Then, Daffy's obnoxious, he gets hurt some other way. Then Daffy's obnoxious, it's funny to see him put his beak back on. By closing credits I felt like donating to the mother-grabbing ASPCA on Daffy's behalf!
The absence of old Mel Blanc is hard felt here (though he does technically appear in archive form as DJ's Gremlin Car). Some of the voices are virtually indistinguishable from the old days, while others are about as accurate as a compass that points East! Foghorn Leghorn and Yosemite Sam for example not only sound like caricatures of themselves, but also sound almost exactly like each other (Note: both are played by Jeff Glenn Bennett)!
The hi-jinks of our heroes fit much better into a short, rather than a feature, therefore the feature can feel a little episodic and repetitive at times, and is therefore pretty predictable. Some of the Slapstick that marked the early stuff seems a little stale and repetitive in this Itchy and Scratchy world, and that might just be the problem here. This film seems to be just perfect for people like me who grew up watching the old Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies shorts, and not so much toward the little kids who might really make up the demographic that Warner's was shooting for. For my Part, I thank you, but for the part of me hopeful for the future, I sort of wish that some of the flaws here could be traded for concessions to the kiddies to get there to be a financial draw for more flicks of this sort!
Because, and I kid you not here, there is SO much good here! For one thing, the underlying theme of the Looney Tunes is well intact! Daffy remains an irritable egomaniac with delusions of grandeur while Bugs remains the consummate wise-cracker making accented comments on any and everything in site. In the hands of our stalwart classics we get spoofs on Psycho as well as a number of Sci-Fi Films, and hilariously impossible stunts and joke-tricks that make Warner Brothers the crazy king of animation. There's also a spoof of Product Placement in media here that is so hilarious it's worth the whole film!
Fraser does a great job of being a self-deprecating goofball. DJ not only cracks wise about the movie and his role in it, but he also makes a number of jokes about Actor Brendan Fraser! Jenna Elfman feels a little out of her element as the buttoned down studio executive, Kate, however when she's free to let loose and act... well, Looney... she's absolutely on her game! Did I mention she's hot too? Steve Martin (as ACME's Mr. Chairman) is at his over-the-top craziest here, making his Sergeant Bilko look like Fred Rogers on Downers by comparison! There's nothing but Silliness in his corporate aspirations to control the world, but in true Bond Villain style, he doesn't have to make sense.
The Cameos here are also great fun to the trained eye. Lots of characters make cameos to satisfy Looney Tunes fans (although, the big, red, hairy monster Gossamer ended up on the Cutting Room Floor). You can even Catch old Batman if you don't Blink! In supplement is a silly scene involving the elusive "Area 52" where Marvin and a whole gaggle of other notable movie Martians (and good old Robby the Robot, too). The acting Cameos are a real funny-bone tickler here, more even than the character cameos. Matthew Lillard (who played Shaggy in the Scooby Doo movie) is seen at lunch with the Animated Shaggy (Casey Kasem) and Scooby (Frank Welker). Ron Perlman pops up for a few seconds, along with Robert Picardo and Leo Rossi as Mr. Chairman's Henchmen! Old Buddies Dick Miller and Roger Corman are on the WB Lot! The Scantily Clad (thank you!) Heather Locklear, the not so Scantily Clad (thank you too!) Peter Graves and medium-clad Joan Cusack also show up in exceedingly hilarious bits. The Cameos are a big part of the fun! Put on your padded mitt and see who else you can catch!
Hey, folks, this is an extremely fun movie, especially for fans. I could go on and on, but I don't want to ruin the details, you wascall! Is it silly? Yep! Dumb? Yeah, at times, and Smart at others! A waste of time? No, ah say, no!!! Such talent! A regular Vincent Van Gopher!
Flaws and greatness balanced earn Looney Tunes: Back in Action Three Stars out of Five! I'd see it if I were you... if you don't, you're a Nincompoop, you long-eared galoot! That's a Joke, son! Now if you excuse me, I have to go hide. I know dat bad ol' puddy tat is awound here somewhere with his long teeth and his shawp claws... OOH! I Scared!
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