If I were to compile a list of movies that are paramount to every kid from the 90s, “Space Jam” would definitely be on that list. It would also be on a list of movies that I haven’t seen prior to watching it for this review. And with the anticipated sequel that came out in July and having just finished “Looney Tunes: Back in Action,” I figured I should knock this movie off my to-watch list.
The film’s plot is as such: A group of aliens are sent by Swackhammer (Danny DeVito), the proprietor of Moron Mountain, an intergalactic theme park in desperate need of new attractions, to enslave the Looney Tunes. After trying to trick them into agreeing to an easily-won basketball game, the aliens steal the talent from NBA players like Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, and Patrick Ewing. After seeing what they’re up against, the Looney Tunes lure Michael Jordan (in a fictionalization of his time after leaving the NBA) to prepare them for the big game.
It’s hard to judge the acting abilities of athletes; but the athletes they got here do an amazing job. Michael Jordan works well as the straight man in the cartoon world. And the other players they got play off the confusion that comes with unexpectedly losing their powers. Each of the Looney Tunes have their classic personalities we know and love. While his screen time is small, Danny DeVito leaves a big presence as the villain. There are also solid performances from Wayne Knight as Michael Jordan’s fanboy-ish publicist and Bill Murray as a version of himself that’s very fixated on playing in the NBA.
The story is simple, straightforward, and a skeleton to hang gags and jokes on; and on that last one, it works. Most of it is visual gags that have an allure of 90s charm. One of the best scenes has Bugs and Daffy sneaking into Jordan’s house to steal his good luck gear, with his kids watching them and their dog chasing them.
This is a movie that oozes that 90s feeling and that plays into the charm. For non-actors, the basketball players do a solid job. And the gags left me laughing throughout the movie. As the credits played, I really appreciated its charm and am happy that I gave it a watch.