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R: ARCHIVE, S: REVIEWS, D: 11/21/1996,

Space Jam

Michael Jordan's big screen debut is little more than a 30-second commercial stretched into a 90-minute feature. And why not? It's directed by Joe Pytka, the man who found fame by making the live action/animation Nike adds with Jordan and Bugs Bunny.

Bugs and all the other Warner Brothers Looney Tunes are held captive by miniature Martians who want them to perform in their torturous space-theme park. In a last-line-of-defense measure, the earth toons challenge the alien toons (who steal the talents of the NBA's finest) to a winner-take-all basketball game. Jordan is recruited by Team Looney, and from there on in the plot is strictly by-the-numbers. The live-action/animation blend is impressive, but it won't make you forget Who Framed Roger Rabbit. And though Jordan may be the greatest athlete to set foot on a basketball court, his acting is as wooden as the surface he plays on. His natural charisma and magnetism help, but the truth is he should stick with baseball, er, basketball. At the Copley Place, the Fresh Pond, and the Circle and in the suburbs.

-- Tom Meek