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Space Jam Review

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★★★★

When shabby gumshoe Bob Hoskins traded insults with mere pen and ink in 1988, everyone cooed at how charming and downright clever it was, but Brad Pitt and Kim Basinger's attempt to charge the gimmick with a more adult flavour in Cool World was about as sexy as when Bugs dresses up as a girl bunny.

However, this latest addition to the animation-meets-live-action canon hits exactly the right tone: fast, funny, often chaotic and with the occasional double entendre chucked in to keep happy the adult faction dragged along by the inevitable batch of junior cinemagoers. The story, for what it's worth, has Bugs scornfully challenging a bunch of midget aliens to a basketball game which, if lost, will see the Looney Tunes transported as star attractions to a squalid deep-space theme park. Magically sucking out the talent of top NBA stars, however, the aliens turn into six foot monsters, so a panicky Bugs drafts in Jordan - who shrugs off initial reluctance while taking the whole prospect of animated teammates in his not inconsiderable stride.

Where this scores the three pointer is in astutely trading on its strengths: anarchic humour from the Tunes; a decent soundtrack; Murray in a superb supporting role as himself; and, most importantly, the Chicago Bulls superstar's legendary status, his unrivalled style on the court and ability to look so damn cool the whole time - as opposed, thankfully, to any painful attempts at thespianism.

All of the major characters are in attendance - Daffy, Tweety, Sylvester, Foghorn Leghorn, the criminally underused Taz and Wile E. Coyote - but if there's one flaw it's that since Mel Blanc said, "That's all folks!" for the last time, Bugs' voice sounds a little askew. But this is a minor quibble in a first-rate popcorn movie: undemanding, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable.

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