Looney Tunes: Back in Action At nine minutes apiece, give or take a heat-seeking anvil or Acme equipment failure, the original Looney Tunes represented the apotheosis of content matching perfectly… Looney Tunes: Back in Action At nine minutes apiece, give or take a heat-seeking anvil or Acme equipment failure, the original Looney Tunes represented the apotheosis of content matching perfectly…
DVD Review

Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2004)

Brendan Fraser, Looney Tunes: Back in Action | DUCK EVERLASTING Daffy ruffles Fraser's feathers
DUCK EVERLASTING Daffy ruffles Fraser's feathers
EW's GRADE
B-

Details Release Date: Mar 02, 2004; DVD Release Date: Mar 02, 2004; Movie Rated: PG; Genres: Animation, Comedy; With: Timothy Dalton, Jenna Elfman and Brendan Fraser; Distributor: Warner Bros.

At nine minutes apiece, give or take a heat-seeking anvil or Acme equipment failure, the original Looney Tunes represented the apotheosis of content matching perfectly timed form. The hour-and-a-half-long Looney Tunes: Back in Action so overstays its welcome, you may start identifying with a certain Sisyphean coyote, battered and blown up in the pursuit of a few good ducks 'n' yuks. A more faithful translation of the original Looney spirit than the soulless ''Space Jam,'' ''Back in Action'' nonetheless proves enervating for anyone with an attention span more developed -- or energy level less boundless -- than an 8-year-old's. (Judging from the slim grosses, the number of prepubescent wisenheimers idolizing Bugs Bunny is, sadly, dwindling.)

All this helps explain why ''Action'' improves as a DVD experience. Break it up by 'toon-size chapter stops and you'll have the patience to explore the gems popping up on the way to the overheated action climaxes. The inanimate plot -- in which a security guard (Brendan Fraser) and a studio VP (Jenna Elfman) chase Daffy into a world-domination scheme overseen by the Acme Corp. COO (Steve Martin, mincing and leering at Mary Woronov) -- serves as a conduit for mirth-inducing cameos by varmints like Yosemite Sam (now a Vegas casino boss), Elmer Fudd, Pepe Le Pew, and the Tasmanian Devil (who gets to eat Ron Perlman alive).

But less isn't always more: The 15 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, while sufficient for kids, is skimpy for animation buffs. And you can't view the extra 26 minutes of deleted scenes, in DVD-ROM format, if you're offline or a Mac or Linux user. Director Joe Dante fashioned the movie as a paean to Daffy Duck's anarchic spirit; do they really expect us to believe Daffy does Windows?

Originally posted Mar 05, 2004 Published in issue #754 Mar 05, 2004 Order article reprints