‘Space Jam: A New Legacy‘ is a live-action animation hybrid comedy film directed by Malcolm D. Lee. It is a “standalone sequel” to the 1996 Michael Jordan movie ‘Space Jam‘ directed by Joe Pytka.
Lebron James (himself) is having trouble with his son Dominic “Dom” James (Cedric Joe). The former is pressuring the latter into basketball when he wants to design video games. At a meeting with Warner Media, an AI named Al G. Rythym (Don Cheadle) presents James with an endorsement deal, but Lebron mocks the idea. During an argument with Dom, Al G. sucks them into the Warner Media “serververse.” Al G. challenges Lebron to a basketball game where if he wins, he’ll return Dom if he wins. Secretly, Al G. turns Dom against Lebron as the NBA pro-athlete works with Bugs Bunny (Jeff Bergman) to help him gather a team to save his son.
The 1996 ‘Space Jam‘ was funny. Imperfect as it was, the movie did not take itself seriously and relied on Michael Jordan reacting to the Looney Tunes, so he did not have to do much acting. This allowed the focus to be on the basketball game against the alien invaders trying to enslave Bugs and his fellow toons. It matched with where everything was in pop culture and gave us a memorable piece of cinema.
This movie was not funny. It was essentially one giant commercial for HBO Max that tried to take itself seriously while relying on Lebron James’ acting skills. Unfortunately, he has none. His acting is about as good as his sportsmanlike conduct at the end of game three of the 2021 NBA finals. In other words, zero.
I was also disappointed in the dud of the plot. I can accept a pro-athlete being bad at acting, but holy cow. It was so incredibly boring. They took such a good premise and even a heartwarming father-son tale, but decided to do everything possible to grift off nostalgia, shill for products, and then try to convince you that the filmmakers are clever. They failed at that last endeavor.
The dialogue was littered with bad jokes, the scenes with bad CGI, and bad acting for the rest of the cast. I was incredibly disappointed in Don Cheadle. It felt like he was just phoning it in, but with the script he had to work with, I do not blame him. I was not even impressed with Zendaya as Lola Bunny. Kath Soucie from the first film was way better and even Kristen Wiig in the rebooted The Looney Tunes Show was better. Honestly, the only good acting was done by Jeff Bergman and Gabriel Iglesias as Bugs and Speedy Gonzales, respectively.
The only, and I mean the only, time I laughed was a joke where they think they have recruited NBA superstar Michael Jordan, but it turns out to be the actor Michael B. Jordan. That was the only clever moment in its entire almost two-hour runtime.
Bottom line, Space Jam: A New Legacy is an elongated HBO Max commercial that fails to live up to the legacy it is desperately trying to grift from. It is a dud from beginning to end where not even a celebrity cameo can save it.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Cartoonish violence, Minor foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: This is not going well.
Check out the trailer below:
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