Saturday, September 24, 2016

Movie Review: "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" (2003)

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Movie"Looney Tunes: Back in Action"
Director: Joe Dante
Year: 2003
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

DJ Drake (Brendan Fraser) is the stuntman/security guard/son of Damien Drake (Timothy Dalton), the biggest star for Warner Brothers. DJ is fired from his job when he fails to escort the recently fired Daffy Duck off the Warner Brothers lot without incident. Upon returning home, DJ discovers his dad is also an international super-spy and has been captured by the chairman of Acme (Steve Martin). He must now go on a mission to find the blue monkey diamond and free his father. Meanwhile, Kate (Jenna Elfman), who fired Daffy and DJ, must take Bugs Bunny to try and get Daffy back for the company or lose her job.

"Looney Tunes: Back in Action" is directed by Joe Dante, who made such films as "Gremlins" and "Innerspace." It stars Brendan Fraser as DJ Drake, a stuntman, security guard, and son of the biggest star at Warner Brothers, Damien Drake, played by Timothy Dalton. In a very meta turn of events, DJ is actually Brendan Fraser's stuntman as Fraser even makes an appearance as himself in a rather self-deprecating moment. Oddly enough, Fraser also voices the Tasmanian devil, though the real Tasmanian devil does not show up to have a conversation with Fraser's Tasmanian devil. DJ is fired after failing to escort the also recently terminated Daffy Duck off the Warner Brothers lot. The movie then devolves into a weird spy adventure where DJ and Daffy search for a magical diamond that turns people into monkeys in order to save DJ's dad who is not only an actor, but is also a super-spy. The villain of the movie is Mr. Chairman of Acme, played by Steve Martin in an inexplicably terrible wig/accent combo and an equally bad career choice. Steve Martin has been very successful in the past playing some rather silly characters, but somewhere along the way in his illustrious career, his shtick lost its sincerity. Whatever wit that use to be there is gone now, thus, we get his performance as chairman of Acme here.

"Looney Tunes: Back in Action" is one bad joke after another with endless recycled scenes and gags from the old Looney Tunes series, but less funny and somehow more annoying. Some nostalgic fan service is okay in any modern film sprung from a famous, well known and old school cartoon, but all of the context here just looks and feels like it's simply going through the motions, wedging these moments into the film in order to wave a big banner saying, "Hey! Remember this?! It used to be funny 50 years ago!" Speaking of things from 50 years ago, this animated children's film is also loaded with outdated and sometimes obscure pop culture references. There are references to movies like "Psycho," "Forbidden Planet," and the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," you know, movies kids love and watch frequently! These references are not only so old that the under 10 crowd (its target audience) will not get them, but the parents of that target audience may not get them either. Jenna Elfman also stars here as Kate, the VP of comedy for Warner Brothers, and well, to put it nicely, she is not funny at all, so it's no wonder WB would struggle with her in an upper-level position in the company. She's also not very good in this movie as a whole, being extremely stiff in some of the worst acting we've seen in an animated/real life hybrid movie.

As we trudged through the tedious task of watching this mess of a movie, we managed to muster up maybe one chuckle in the entire 90 minutes. If you ever wonder what happened to Brendan Fraser's career and wonder why he isn't headlining Hollywood blockbusters anymore, or why the Looney Tunes stopped being popular altogether, look no further than "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" and any confusion will vanish. Avoid this ghastly, surprisingly terrible bad film at all costs.

My Rating: 1.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 1.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 57%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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