There’s a line towards the end of Space Jam: A New Legacy where a character says: “I don’t even know what I just witnessed”. That line is a pretty good description of my feelings about this new Space Jam film. I had some hopes going into this because it really did look like it had potential to be fun. I’m a huge fan of other films like this, with Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Looney Tunes: Back in Action being prime examples. A film of this type can be loads of fun if done correctly; unfortunately, this one bungles almost everything. I hate to say it, but this is, if not the worst, one of the worst films of 2021.
Look, I love LeBron James, I really do. He’s just an all around great guy who has used his platform for a lot of good. He has brought awareness to important societal issues and has helped the community from which he came. LeBron James is a lot of things…. but he is NOT an actor. Having him show up briefly in Trainwreck for a fun cameo is cool but having him lead a feature film just doesn’t work. Almost every one of his line deliveries falls flat, he just doesn’t have the ability to convey what he needs to convey. Everything was fine when he was a cartoon and we only heard his voice, but him actually “acting” is just cringeworthy.
The other members of the cast do better than James but to be honest no one really leaves an impression. The only person I really loved here was Sarah Silverman who’s always a delight, but unfortunately she’s only in two scenes. Even a seasoned actor such as Don Cheadle can’t seem to make this work.
Sometimes even seasoned talented actors can’t break through awful material and Cheadle in this is an example of that. A New Legacy’s script is so lazy and jumbled that the end product just ends up being boring and uninteresting. There’s two gears this film switches between: forced/canned sentimentality and unfunny zaniness. I honestly couldn’t help but laugh at the sentimental “serious” family moments because of both the bad writing and James’s stiff delivery. At times, it almost seemed like James’s serious moments were parody. The scenes where James deals with the Toons and is jumping from one WB world to another needed to be a lot funnier than they were. The whole chunk of the film where they’re rounding up the gang is just really boring.
But speaking of comedy, it’s not just lacking from the Toons. The humans in A New Legacy don’t get any good comedic lines either. I think I mildly chuckled twice but I can’t even remember what it was I laughed at. The jokes were so forced and over the top corny; they just fell flat. Oh and whoever thought it was a good idea for everyone to say “dope” all the time needs to be fired, that got real old real fast.
The best thing about A New Legacy is Bugs Bunny. The character of Bugs Bunny really works and he brings a fun presence to the screen. Like I mentioned earlier, I also liked Sarah Silverman’s small role as a Warner Brothers executive trying to get LeBron on board with a new idea. To be honest, those are the only things I really enjoyed here. I’m really surprised no one looked at this script or at James’s acting and said “is this what we’re going with?” This could have been a fun film but instead it’s really just a mess.
Space Jam: A New Legacy is let down by a jumbled lazy script and James’s stiff emotionless lead performance. I love LeBron but lord have mercy if he’s going to continue being in films then someone needs to get him a coach!
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