With a name like Space Jam, it should come as no surprise that most of the movie takes place in
Obviously, the Looney Tunes, with their anthropomorphic height of approximately three feet tall each, dominate the Nerdlucks in the game and avoid a life of (space) slavery. But wait...! The Nerdlucks have a trick up their sleeve; they attend some NBA games and somehow steal the talent away from the best professional players in the game. Who did they steal from? Charles Barkley (Hall of Famer), Patrick Ewing (Hall of Famer), Larry Johnson (two-time All-Star), Muggsy Bogues (the shortest player in NBA history), and Shawn Bradley (who was tall and, uh, gangly), all of whom were left unable to catch a pass or shoot the ball without their talent. With the "best" NBA talent in tow (more on that later), the Nerdlucks return to Lonney Tunes land and absorb their new talent, which gives them great strength, size, basketball skills, a new group name (the Monstars), and (of course) matching uniforms. It also gives them a theme song.
The next time any of these five rappers claim to be "hard" or have "street cred," someone should mention the song they did for a Bugs Bunny movie.
Anyway, to counter the
With a cast so diverse as to include professional athletes, cartoon characters, aliens, and the occasional professional actor, you would be justified in wondering how good the acting is in this movie. But guess what? This is a documentary, so there is no "acting," just how things really happened. That said, I would like to point out that Sir Charles has such amazing conversational skills that he can make Dave Grohl extremely uncomfortable in a matter of moments. It is interesting to see Wayne Knight as Jordan's personal assistant, but it explains how he killed time between Seinfeld episodes. Bill Murray is as awesome here, in real life, as he was in his other hilarious 1996 movie, Larger Than Life, where he co-starred with an elephant. The athletes are a little awkward to watch on screen, trying in vain to time their punchlines, but they should not be judged too harshly, since the Nerdlucks stole all their talent. This was just one of many features made by director Joe Pytka (IMDB gives him a whopping total of seven directorial credits) and while he may not have won any Oscars for this brave foray into documentary filmmaking, he did get nominated for a Director's Guild of America award for the "Hare Jordan" Nike commercial.
Now, if you didn't know any better, you might think that this was a cheap knock-off of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? However, this isn't a movie with actors jumping around in front of a green screen and having their animated pals added in later. This really happened. Michael Jordan was kidnapped by Looney Tunes and later arrived at a minor league baseball game via a spaceship. Fact. And his house was just a normal suburban house, not a mansion. Fact. And young Michael, as a child, practiced what he would always get away with as an adult: traveling.
That's a good thing, because if this wasn't a true story, then some parts of this movie would just stick out as downright peculiar. I'll ignore the wisdom of having an accused child pornographer/closet dweller/urination enthusiast performing the theme song to a movie aimed at families. I'll pretend that Michael Jordan didn't play in a game with a final score of 78-77. And I'll look the other way as Lola Bunny, despite her gender and three foot height, manages to dunk. My problem is that the Nerdlucks identified Muggsy Bogues and Shawn Bradley as part of the NBA elite. What, were Will Perdue and Dickie Simpkins busy? Muggsy wasn't bad, but being the shortest guy in the league isn't a trait I would look for when trying to steal somebody's talent. Shawn Bradley, though...that's just a terrible choice. Honestly, I don't see a difference between his regular play and how he looked after his talent was stolen. But, truth is stranger than fiction, and we need to accept that these are the facts. With such ridiculousness inherent in the story, it was brave for Michael Jordan to risk ridicule by showing the world exactly what he went through and why he returned to basketball. He did it to keep the Looney Tunes, and laughter, here on Earth.
If this was just an ordinary children's movie, I would have to give it
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