Back in Action (2003)
Ebert: TV Guide:1/2
Warning, minor plot points revealed!
Let me start by saying that I love Looney Tunes cartoons. I have Daffy Duck tattooed on my shoulder (seriously) and anyone who gets me that Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD Box Set for Christmas will become or continue to be my best friend.
Although I loved Who Framed Roger Rabbit and to a lesser degree Cool World when I was a kid, I am, for some reason, less amused today by 2-D cartoons interacting in the 3-D world. While I can immensely enjoy 3-D digital animated characters like Gollum or the new Yoda, I cannot help but be disappointed that when Brendan Frasier interacts with Daffy Duck because he never really looks in the exact direction where Daffy is supposed to be standing. It's sloppy and noticeable throughout the entire film. I know this sound like a stupid criticism but the interaction between the human characters and the cartoon characters is just not believable.
Another personal bias that soured the movie for me is that fact that I hold the Looney Tunes cartoons in the highest esteem. They are the gold standard for cartoon shorts. They are the cartoons that I consider to be the archetypes of the entire genre. Therefore they are sacred and should not be used in such a blasphemous way as in Space Jam and Back in Action. I like Brendan Fraser and Jenna Elfman but they are not worthy to have screentime shared with Bugs and Daffy.
Now back to the review. The story is Daffy gets fired from Warner Brothers after insisting that he get treatment equal to Bugs. Jenna is the executive that decides instead to fire him. She then calls Brendan, who works as a security guard at the studio to forcibly remove Daffy from the lot. Daffy hitches a ride home with Brendan who soon finds that his dad, Timothy Dalton, is not just the actor who plays a super-spy but is actually a real super-spy and he's been kidnapped. The kidnapper is the villainous Chairman of the Acme corporation, Steve Martin, who has hatched a plan to steal a blue diamond that will change the entire population of the world into monkeys who will be enslaved to manufacture Acme products and then later purchase the products once they are again turned back into people. As Brendan and Daffy set out to save Brendan's father Jenna and Bugs set out to retrieve and rehire Daffy.
Now I know you're saying, "how could a movie with a plot like that be anything less than exceptional?" Well as proof I can report that I saw the film opening weekend with a theatre full of children and parents who were not especially amused. After a while I started paying attention to see if the children laughed at the kid-gags and the adults at the ones directed toward them but ultimately the theatre was pretty quiet throughout.
I'm not going to write much more because I doubt that many of you will ever even see this movie. I will say that the best joke of the movie is that the character that Brendan Fraser plays named, DJ Drake, is also the stunt man for the real and over-the top arrogant star "Brendan Fraser" in films like The Mummy. This little joke is pretty funny, especially when the two Brendans meet briefly near the end of the film.