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Film / Looney Tunes: Back in Action

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"Ugh, what am I talkin' to you for? All you have to do is munch on a carrot and people love you."

The second feature film attempt at reviving the Looney Tunes franchise since the fall of the original Warner Bros. cartoons, after Space Jam. Released in 2003, it is another good example of the Roger Rabbit Effect.

Daffy Duck is fired from the Warner Bros. Studios and falls in the middle of a search for a mysterious Blue Monkey diamond that the secret agent father of a security guard is also trying to find before the Head of Acme does. Without Daffy, Bugs Bunny just can't do his job, and he heads out across the world with the VP of Comedy to retrieve him. Brendan Fraser and Jenna Elfman star as said security guard and VP, Joe Alaskey voices both Bugs and Daffy, and Steve Martin is a live-action villain who is the Head of the Acme Corporation that apparently invents all the malfunctioning devices known to cartoon-dom. Joe Dante directs. Eric Goldberg, who animated Aladdin's Genie, directs the animation.

Rumor has it that Dante made this revival in response to his deep hatred for the previous film incarnation, calling this the "anti-Space Jam". Ironically, its working title was Spy Jam, and had an action-oriented, James Bond-like feel to it, instead of spoofing sports movies. It also was going to star Jackie Chan. The secret agent story remains, but Bugs and company are Animated Actors under contract at the Warner Studios lot, instead of otherworldly residents separate from our own. Rather than make all of them friends, they cast Elmer Fudd and the other supporting Tunes as enemies of Bugs and Daffy, several of which live around the world.

Financially, it performed far worse than Space Jam. It's estimated that Warner Bros. lost between $60 million and $80 million on the film, making it one of the biggest box office flops ever at the time — the series of brand new theatrical cartoon shorts were all canceled including ones that were already finished. Some also claim that the failure of this movie is the reason why Cartoon Network stopped airing the original Looney Tunes shorts regularly. This film made the company realize there doesn't seem to be any clear future for the Looney Tunes, except for the occasional television special, a faithful new TV series and some controversial updates (at least until Cartoon Network aired The Looney Tunes Show, but even that was short-lived). Despite this, fans have been known to state that this movie is much better than Space Jam, bringing the characters back to their roots, and has gained a cult following on DVD. In fact, many claim one of the main reasons the film failed at the theaters was due in part to the lousy marketing of Warner Bros, and, considering their treatment of The Powerpuff Girls Movie the previous year and The Iron Giant three years before that, the claim is not without justification.

Also worth noting that this is the last film to be scored by composer Jerry Goldsmith before he passed away after a long struggle with colon cancer (his illness actually kept him from completing the film, with the final reels scored by John Debney). It is also the final film appearance for Peter Graves.

Looney Tunes: Back In Action contains examples of:

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  • Actor Allusion:
    D.J.: What I really do is, I'm-I'm a... I'm a stunt man!
    Daffy: HA! You, a stunt man!? Please!
    D.J.: I am! Did you see those Mummy movies? I'm in them more than Brendan Fraser is!note 
  • Adam Westing: Besides playing D.J. Drake, Brendan Fraser also plays... Brendan Fraser. Who ends up being a complete Jerkass and punched in the face by D.J. (who, just as a reminder, is also played by Fraser).
    • And is also Fraser's stuntman from the Mummy films. Confused yet?
  • Advertised Extra:
    • Tweety, who (not counting the scenes where he is really Taz in disguise) appears in just one scene. According to the Deleted Scenes featurette, Tweety originally was intended to actually take part in the film's original climax: DJ zaps him with the Blue Monkey, which turns him into a Pterodactyl, and he then eats the Chairman.
    • Even more so the Road Runner, who despite appearing for just a cameo that consists of running past the screen, is prominently shown on the DVD cover.
    • Heather Locklear was heavily promoted as one of the starring cast members (and also appears prominently on the DVD cover), but her appearance only consists of a few scenes during the Las Vegas segment.
  • The Alleged Car: The first car (A Gremlin, complete with leimotif) that Daffy and DJ get into when they leave DJ's house. It falls apart as soon as they try to start the engine the second time in Las Vegas.
    Daffy: Now that's an interesting feature.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: After Bugs Bunny explains the art technique of Pointillism, he says to the audience: "I think, when you go to the movies, you should learn something." Which is a Call-Back to Kate insisting that nothing is learned in any of Bugs' cartoons.
  • Animated Actors: Just about all of the toons are portrayed this way.
  • Art Imitates Art: During the art museum chase; it's also revealed via x-ray glasses that the Mona Lisa has a bra and a skeleton.
  • Artistic License – Art: The Persistence of Memory is actually on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, all public versions of The Scream are at the Munch Museum and at the National Gallery of Norway, both in Oslo, and A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is at the Art Institute of Chicago. However, all of these are incorrectly depicted as being in the Louvre in order to participate in the sequence in which Bugs Bunny, Daffy and Elmer Fudd enter in several iconic paintings.
  • Art Shift:
    • Shaggy and Scooby-Doo have a short cameo threatening bodily harm to Matthew Lillard in the studio cafeteria after seeing his performance of the former in the live-action film. They are rendered in the same art style as the Scooby-Doo cartoons.
    • The Louvre chase scene has Elmer chasing Bugs and Daffy through each and every painting in the hallway, taking on each of their styles. Bugs naturally exploits this by tricking Elmer into assuming a Pointillist style and then blowing him away with a portable fan.
    • The relayed Civil Defense video tape has animated segments describing the villain's intent, and is animated in a more limited UPA style.
    • And of course, there is the intro: we start with a scene animated in a simple, flat style that's clearly trying to replicate the original shorts, and then cut to the movie proper, which of course is mostly live-action as well as having much more intricately shaded animation.
  • Ash Face: Appears briefly in the opening remake of "Rabbit Fire".
  • Aside Glance: Many characters do this when the ridiculousness of their situation is just too much to handle. Like when a Wal-Mart mirage shows up and they Lampshade Product Placement.
  • Bad Boss: Mr. Chairman has Taz eat one of the VPs down to a skeleton for questioning him.note  Also, a Deleted Scene reveals the reason why the VPs had to press their buzzers before speaking up.
    VP: Is that a rhetorical question?
    Chairman: [grins evilly] Oh goody. You forgot to press your buzzer.
    [The VP gets covered in plastic wrap]
  • Bag of Kidnapping: Kate Haughton is kidnapped in one by Bob Smith while in France.
  • Basement-Dweller: According to Warner Bros. executives, Daffy's entire fanbase is made up of these. Never mind that he was the one who got his own series later, not Bugs.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: DJ and Kate, naturally.
  • Beware the Silly Ones:
    • This applies to all of the toons, really, but mostly the toons who align with the Acme Corp., like Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd, Wile E. Coyote, and Marvin the Martian.
    • Shaggy and Scooby in their Cameo criticize Matthew Lillard's performance as the former in the live action Scooby-Doo movie and threaten him if he messes up further in the sequel.
    • The Chairman of Acme Corp. may be an immature, over-the-top executive, but he's still a dangerous totalitarian egomaniac perfectly willing to kill or torture others to further his goals.
  • Big Bad: Mr. Chairman.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Daffy's (eventual) transformation into Duck Dodgers at the climax: he saves Bugs from falling to his death, destroys the Chairman's satellite, and (perhaps inadvertently) transforms the Chairman himself into a monkey, all in one fell swoop.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: The "Brothers Warner", the studio executives, are portrayed as stuffy, fickle, shortsighted men with a Never My Fault attitude.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Parodied by Pepe Le Pew (big surprise there):
    DJ: There's a... man who's got a woman. She's tied up in a burlap sack. He's taking her to the Eiffel Tower.
    Pepe: Ahh! It is spring. Is it not?
  • Bland-Name Product: Earth Geographic.
  • Boom in the Hand: During the car chase in Vegas, one of Sam's goons lights a stick of dynamite to throw at the heroes. When the heroes veer out of the way, the goon refuses to throw the dynamite out of the window despite Sam's demands, so as to avoid hurting any innocent people. This results in the dynamite blowing them up.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: So many times. It's eventually knocked down entirely when, post-climax, D.J., the character who is supposedly Brendan Fraser's stuntman, (but also played by Fraser) confronts the real Fraser, who is playing DJ (his own stuntman), on the set of this movie...confused yet?
  • Butt-Monkey / Chew Toy: The film opens with Daffy deciding he's fed up of playing this role, and getting fired as a result.
  • Canines Gambling in a Card Game: Chester, Spike, Charlie and other Looney Tunes canines playing cards at a table inside Yosemite Sam's Wooden Nickel casino. Their game gets interrupted by The Hero falling from an exposed hallway onto the table, wrecking it. All the dogs bark at him, though most have spoken conversational English in their cartoons.
  • Cardboard Box of Unemployment: Daffy Duck goes into histrionics while arguing to the Warner Brothers that he's much more bankable than Bugs Bunny. Unmoved, the brothers have a yes-man bring in a box of personal effects. Daffy recognizes the contents.
    Daffy Duck: Hey, that's the stuff from my office.
    Brother #1: You don't have an office.
    Brother #2: Not anymore.
    Daffy Duck: [breaking fourth wall] Soliloquy; this is bad.
  • Cartoon Physics: As to be expected from all the animated characters, but several notable instances are when Daffy uses his Offscreen Teleportation to continually reappear in DJ’s car no matter how many times he gets thrown out, and when the spy car stops just before hitting the ground because it ran out of gas (though this is immediately averted once Kate points out that physics don’t work that way.)
  • The Cameo: Numerous, occasionally pitting celebrities playing themselves, and brilliantly including Miles Bennell. Many of the classic Looney Tunes characters, including one-shot characters, make appearances. Even a couple of the earliest Looney Tunes stars, Ham and Ex the puppies, make brief cameos.
  • Celebrity Paradox: See Art Shift above. Also, as stated above: DJ Drake, played by Brendan Fraser, punches... Brendan Fraser. On the set of this very movie, where Fraser is apparently playing DJ. It's hilariously confusing.
    • In an Animated Actors kind of way, this trope also applies to the Looney Tunes themselves. Bugs, Daffy, Elmer, Porky, Speedy and several others are depicted as actors who did star in their real-life shorts, but Tweety, Sylvester, Taz, Yosemite Sam, Marvin and several others are just depicted as people who have seemingly no connection to the Warner Bros. studio. Though they've probably retired, semi-retired or on vacation.
    • Resolved to a degree with Elmer Fudd who acknowledges he was Bugs's costar and is secwetwy evil.
  • Character Check: Though the film largely revolves around Daffy's contemporary dynamic with Bugs, there are several moments that nod to his earlier Cloud Cuckoo Lander prankster personality, most notably his relentless trolling of DJ during the pursuit at the beginning. Abiding by the creative team, it was an intentional direction to make Daffy a Composite Character of his earlier and later personas.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Daffy's bill detaching from his face.
  • *Click* Hello: Marvin pulls this move on Bugs in the climax.
Marvin: You tricked me!
  • Co-Dragons: Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, Elmer Fudd, The Tasmanian Devil, and Marvin the Martian all show up the Chairman's. Only Marvin and Coyote make it to the climax.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Happens to DJ when he tries to use his rocket pants, but they simply rip off instead of lifting him in the air. The Three Bears show up to laugh at him until DJ steals Papa Bear's pants.
  • The Comically Serious: Kate doesn't seem to enjoy working with cartoons. While the gang wanders across the desert, Kate expresses a desire to quit comedy and work in movies about "the human condition crammed with social relevance".
  • Cool Car: The Spy-mobile, a TVR Tuscan Speed 6.
  • Cranium Chase: Daffy Duck has his head detached while Mother is demonstrating the laser beam function of DJ's spy phone. Daffy's body starts feeling around the lab floor for its missing head. "Get over here, you idiot."
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: When Daffy learns that DJ's father is Damian Drake, the renowned actor playing a spy, he goes on to babble on that Damian is really a spy who portrays himself as an actor playing a spy. Then he assumes that the entire house is filled with spy gadgets and DJ is protected by an invisible forcefield, throwing at him an apple to prove this. The apple does hit DJ, but Daffy takes it as proof of the apple being forcefield-proof. Cue to DJ scolding Daffy for his "delusional ranting" right before Damian calls him through a painting and is proven to be a spy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bugs, Daffy, and especially DJ.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Kate Houghton warms up considerably over the course of the film, especially towards DJ. Compare how she introduces herself to Daffy at the beginning, with how she introduces herself to Damian at the end.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Kate, with modern day sensibilities, very much doesn't appreciate Bugs' style of humor.
  • Designated Love Interest: invoked Lampshaded in a deleted alternate ending, where DJ introduces Kate to his father and admits they haven't kissed yet, they don't really get along, and they have virtually nothing in common; to which she smilingly replies that this could be The One.
  • Didn't Think This Through/Epic Fail: The attempt at making a Duck Season, Rabbit Season cartoon without the recently-fired Daffy. See below.
  • Disaster Dominoes: On a smaller scale than most disasters, but Daffy still makes a big mess when he crashes the Batmobile into the Warner Water Tower.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The sequence where Bugs, Daffy and Elmer Fudd battle through the Louvre Museum. They get into paintings and their appearance changes to match the artwork they’re inside.
  • Duck Season, Rabbit Season: Both played straight at the beginning, and subverted later on after Daffy's been fired from Warner Bros.
    Elmer Fudd: Say your pwayers, wabbit! It's wabbit season!
    Bugs Bunny: Duck season!
    Elmer: Wabbit season!
    Bugs: Duck season!
    Elmer: Wabbit season!
    Bugs: Wabbit season!
    Elmer: Wait a minute... [looks at script]
    Bugs: See, I told you this wasn't gonna work without- [Elmer shoots him]
    • One would think this evidently leads to The End of the World as We Know It, since it ends Bugs' historic survival instinct (besides cross-dressing, which he was discouraged from doing anymore due to how modern audiences perceive the act). He really milks his injuries for all their worth in front of the big executives too. Like all classic cartoons, he gets better by the next shot.
    Bugs: (in a full body cast) Ohhhhhh! *cough, cough* Oh pain! Oh agoneeee~eeeee~eeeee! (sideeyes the executives next to him to see if they're buying it)
    • At the end, Daffy thinks Bugs is attempting this when he tells the others that Daffy was the real hero.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While chasing the heroes with a stick of lit dynamite:
    Yosemite Sam: Throw it out the window! Throw it out, throw it ou~ou-out!
    Nasty Canasta: But innocent people could be hurt...
    Sam: THROW IT OU- [explosion] OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!!!
    • Also, when the Chairman is showing DJ what kind of torture he has set up for his father, he notices the Pendulum of Doom is in use as well, saying that it's overkill and ordering Wile E. Coyote to remove it.
  • Executive Meddling: The plotline itself is the result of an in-universe use of this trope. When Daffy complains about being depicted as a Butt-Monkey to Bugs again and demands to be treated with respect, he's immediately fired and chased off the lot. The resulting film ends up falling apart because of his absence and the executives order Kate to go find him and bring him back within a week, or she's also fired.
  • Eye Pop: Daffy’s eyes literally pop out of his head and roll across his bill after watching Dusty Tails strip out of her white outfit revealing a sexier one underneath.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Elmer revealing his employment with Acme is almost certainly an excuse for him to describe himself as "secwetwy evil".
    Daffy: Pfft. That's showbiz for ya.
  • Face Palm: Bugs does one after Daffy finally realises which car is the actual spy car.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: After the car stops before hitting the ground because it's "outta gas". See below.
  • Fakeout Opening: The film starts like with a homage to the Duck Season, Rabbit Season trilogy, only to reveal that it's Daffy reading his script, venting his frustration at the formula of "Daffy gets blasted."
    • The deleted scenes had a very different opening for the film, which features Daffy as a superhero fighting an evil Elmer Fudd and his organ-operated robot-thingy (an opening not so different from Toy Story 3)—only to reveal that it's Daffy trying to pitch a film idea, with the Warner Bros. complaining that he killed Elmer in the first five minutes. Elmer himself doesn't want to be a bad guy and runs off crying at the premise.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Chairman seems somewhat of a humorous fellow, but that does little to hide both his hunger for cruelty and sadistic personality, with few redeeming qualities to boot.
  • Foreshadowing: There are several moments where Kate and DJ are talking about tropes or plot developments as the movie goes along. While they are clearly Breaking the Fourth Wall and hanging lampshades on every part of the set, it's almost as if they know they're in a movie. Turns out, after dealing with the ACME chairman, they actually are acting in a movie, the filming of which only breaks after Bugs and Daffy return from dealing with the Blue Monkey space laser.
    • After the spy car is about to crash into a wall, Daffy yelps out “mother” as he typically does when faced with a threatening situation. The spy car then says “taking you to Mother” before flying the group off. They end up in a desert after the car falls and crashes where they later come across Area 52 and meet the leading researcher called “Mother.”
  • Forgot About His Powers: During the space battle, Daffy wonders what Duck Dodgers would do if he were there, before remembering that he himself is Duck Dodgers.
  • French Accordion: When the scene shifts from Area 52 in the United States to Paris, France, the soundtrack picks up an accordion riff. Along with the accordion tune, there are also artists with easels, street mimes in striped shirts, and Roman Catholic nuns shepherding identically-dressed schoolgirls. It's as though France mandates this stuff.
  • From Zero to Hero: Throughout most of the film, Daffy is The Load and The Chew Toy. However, once Marvin takes Bugs out of the fight, it's Daffy in his Duck Dodgers guise who monkey-wrenches the satellite. Back on Earth, Bugs even admits that Daffy was the hero, though Daffy presumes this is a case of Pronoun Trouble and disputes it.
  • Full-Body Disguise: Played with in the jungle scene. Granny, Sylvester and Tweety seem to have helped our heroes find the diamond, only for Granny to unzip her full-body suit to reveal the ACME Chairman, and Sylvester to actually be Mr. Smith, and Tweety to be the Tasmanian Devil. Then the Chairman unzips his body suit to reveal Damian, whom then unzips once again to reveal Michael Jordan. (Daffy lampshades this, naturally). Then under the Michael Jordan suit is the real Chairman once again. And after our heroes and the Chairman are transported back to ACME, Mr. Smith stays behind with Taz and unzips his body suit to reveal a Tasmanian She-Devil!
  • Funny Background Event: Usually Bugs and Daffy are making snarky visual commentary while the humans are freaking out.
    • In the studio cafe scene during Bugs' discussion with Kate, Ralph Wolf is seen about to eat a (live) sheep sandwich but gets clobbered by Sam Sheepdog. Later in that same scene, the man from "One Froggy Evening" steals Michigan J. Frog and dashes away.
    • While in the desert, Wile E. Coyote launches a missile at the main characters but it comes back towards him. Then we cut to the main characters, a small explosion is seen way in the background.
  • Gay Paree: In France, the Louvre and Eiffel Tower are depicted as only being 2 seconds away from each other. They're not. The scene also displays the "French love Jerry Lewis" stereotype by displaying French posters for his movies there. And yes, this is where Pepe le Pew makes his appearance in the film.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Apparently, Daffy getting fired is a regular occurrence at the studio. Bugs speaks nonchalantly to Kate about how he's certain he'll be back in no time, and even phones Daffy to tell him that he's figured out how to get him his job back "with less of a pay cut than usual".
  • Glass Smack and Slide: "We are never going to find that duck." The next moment, Daffy scrambles directly into the path of the car, and ends up molded against the windshield.
    Bugs: Heheh... Daff never misses a cue.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: When the flying car runs out of gas, it stays hovering just above the ground until Kate points out that gravity doesn't work like that, to which the car immediately crashes.
  • Harmless Liquefaction: When the heroes arrive at Area 52, Daffy gets zapped by one of the security guards, melting him into a black goo. He spends the next few minutes inside a turkey baster before being reconstituted.
  • Heel Realization: Bugs has always let his popularity over Daffy get to his head and acts like he’s better than his feathered foil, not blinking an eye when the latter gets fired and expecting him to come crawling back at the first offer he gets. It’s not until he’s alone with Daffy that they really talk, and Daffy laments that he is always the Butt-Monkey who has to endure Amusing Injuries to get laughs, while all Bugs has to do is “munch on a carrot, and people love [him].” Bugs then realizes what kind of hell Daffy has to go through just to obtain half of what Bugs gets handed to him on a silver platter, and the guilt is written all over his face.
  • Hit Me, Dammit!: Not "hit me" in the sense of punching, but Yosemite Sam and D.J are playing blackjack at a casino. Yosemite Sam keeps asking the dealer, Foghorn Leghorn, to "hit me" (play a card) and gets a smack on the head with a plank because it's not his turn.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: Bugs and Daffy seem to take a backseat to D.J. and Kate throughout most of the movie.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In-universe, DJ is Brendan Fraser's stunt double, and claims to have more screen time than Fraser himself. Out of universe, DJ is himself played by Brendan Fraser.
    • And yes, Fraser uses stunt doubles in this movie.
  • Ice Queen: Kate Houghton, to the extent that when she's first introduced, her shaking hands with Daffy freezes his hand solid. She defrosts considerably over the course of the film.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Bugs gets the heroes from the desert to Paris by simply lifting the current shot to the next one.
  • Ignorant About Fire: This movie has Daffy Duck argue with Bugs Bunny about their treatment at the studio. Daffy resents that Bugs is a Karmic Trickster, while Daffy is the Iron Butt Monkey recipient of Slapstick and Amusing Injuries. Bugs then points out that Daffy's tail is alight (from a campfire), to which Daffy states, "Exactly my point." Bugs then has to point out the flames before Daffy realizes that he's alight and in pain.
  • Impact Silhouette: The cartoon characters, of course.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Daffy is certain that Damian Drake's old car, a gremlin, is a spy car because it looks absolutely nothing like a spy car.
  • Insult Backfire: DJ calls the Chairman evil, yet the Chairman is too speechless to properly thank him enough for the generous compliment!
  • Interface Spoiler: The DVD's scene (chapter) selection menu reveals there is a post-credits scene at the end.
  • Jar of the Bizarre: Area 52 keeps some of its bizarre alien creatures in giant Mason jars with air holes punched in their lids. One of these aliens is Marvin the Martian, who escapes easily once he receives his orders from the villain.
  • Jerkass Ball: Shaggy and Scooby-Doo are not happy with Matthew Lillard's portrayal as the former in the live-action film and threaten him if the screws up again in the sequel.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In the beginning, Bugs agrees with Daffy that the former has been in the spotlight long enough. Near the end, he decides to have him and Daffy as equal partners.
  • Jungles Sound Like Kookaburras: One scene takes place in the African jungle and yes, the kookaburra cackles again.
  • Karmic Transformation: The Chairman himself became a monkey in the end.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Lots of it. Mostly done by Kate, who will explain from a corporate standpoint, why they should allow this.
    • After Sam slips on a banana peel, he angrily complains about "dadburn slapstick clichés!" and opens fire on the peel.
    • In the crash-landing scene, the car runs out of gas about a foot off the ground and stops dead in midair. When Kate exclaims that gravity doesn't work like that, the cosmic force promptly reasserts itself and the car finishes its fall to the ground.
      [car stops a foot from the ground]
      Bugs: Huh... outta gas!
      [the scene begins to fade out]
      Kate: What?! It doesn't work like that!
      [the fadeout disappears and the car smashes into the ground]
      Bugs: ...thanks, toots.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Chairman quite literally gets hit with an impossibly precise laser beam, turning him into a monkey.
  • Latex Perfection: Exaggerated with the zippered disguises worn by the Chairman and his henchmen. While disguised as Granny, the Chairman is apparently wearing four layers of Latex Perfection at once. Never mind that Taz is somehow able to disguise himself as Tweety, who's ten times smaller than him...
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Any jokes that aren't smashing the fourth wall completely tend to be this.
    DJ: [as Elmer Fudd is chasing Bugs and Daffy] Do you think we should we go back and help them?
    Kate: Nah, Elmer never gets Bugs. It's a formula, but it works.
    DJ: That's the great thing about movies, you always know what's gonna happen. For instance, if this was a movie, you and I'd probably wind up together.
  • Legion of Doom: Many Looney Tunes characters such as Marvin the Martian, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd and Wile E. Coyote are cast as villains working for the Big Bad.
  • LEGO Body Parts: The main characters and Mr. Chairman accidentally switch body parts as a result of a Teleporter Accident.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Kate seems to be the only one in the studio unaware of DJ being the son of Damian Drake.
  • Losing Your Head: Daffy Duck has his head detached by a laser while Mother demonstrates DJ's spy phone.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Parodied when the Chairman reveals he is actually Damian Drake in a Full-Body Disguise. When DJ insists this can't possibly be true, Damian admits, "You're right, it isn't!" and unzips to reveal Michael Jordan, then unzips again to "reveal" he really was just the Chairman all along.
  • MacGuffin Blindness: Bugs and Daffy are able to keep the Queen of Diamonds card away from Elmer Fudd by playing a quick game of "Is This Your Card?" by mixing it into a deck of identically-backed cards, only revealing the real Queen of Diamonds card right before taking off and leading Fudd on a classic Looney Tunes chase.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: The Area 52 scene, featuring a Triffid plant, the eponymous Robot Monster, the mutant from This Island Earth and even Daleks, among others. Aside from the villains, there's also Robby the Robot, and also Kevin McCarthy mumbling about how "they're here".
  • Match In A Bombshack: After being launch into a dark room, Sam lights a match to find that he is in a room full of TNT. The result is the room exploding and sending him soaring into the air.
  • Moon-Landing Hoax: When Bugs and Daffy are in Area 52, they browse through a videotape shelf. One of the videotapes reads "MOON LANDING DRESS REHEARSAL".
  • Mugged for Disguise: DJ boards the casino stage to talk to Dusty Tails by kidnapping one of the mini-Yosemete Sam background dancers and wearing his tiny jacket and mask.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Kate regretted firing DJ when she found out he is the son of Damian Drake, whom she idolized greatly.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Michael Jordan makes a brief cameo via archive footage from Space Jam.
      "Let's do some drills."
    • The flying car the heroes ride in stops in mid-air before it hits the ground because it ran out of gas, a reference to the topper gag from the Bugs Bunny cartoon Falling Hare.
    • The original proposed climatic battle for the film (scrapped but exists as a DVD extra) has Bugs de-evolving back into his prototype design from "Porky's Hare Hunt".

  • Never My Fault:
    • The Chairman insists that all Acme products function perfectly and Wile E. Coyote must be using them wrong.
    • After Bugs' first shot without Daffy, the Warner Brothers threaten to fire Kate for firing Daffy. Even though they agreed on the decision.
  • Never Say "Die": Played straight then subverted when Mr. Chairman orders Marvin the Martian to destroy Daffy.
    Mr. Chairman: Destroy the duck, and when I say destroy the duck, I mean kill him viciously and painfully!
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Normally laid back nice guys Shaggy and Scooby are seen angrily chastising Matthew Lillard for his performance of the former, and threatening violence if he "goofs on" Shaggy in the sequel.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Daffy tampers with the Batmobile controls, trying to use it as a getaway vehicle. Even though D.J. catches Daffy, he fails to realize that he'd already activated the Batmobile. Without a driver, the Batmobile ends up driving by itself and crashing into the standing of the Warner Bros. water tower making it fall to the ground and getting destroyed and thus getting D.J. fired.
  • No Fourth Wall: What you get when you have Joe Dante behind the camera and the Looney Tunes cast in front of it.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Bugs: "Daffy learns not to stick his head in a jet engine!"
    • Apparently Kate's previous film was a Spinoff Babies of Lethal Weapon. How that got greenlit is anyone's guess.
  • No Sense of Humor: Kate, despite being the VP of comedy at Warner Bros; something the other characters rib her endlessly for.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Marvin the Martian always has some form of blaster on hand, and won't hesitate to "wreak mayhem in the cause of evil".
    Marvin: Halt or be fricasseed!
  • Not So Stoic: Kate, upon learning D.J. (who she fired earlier) is the son of Warner Bros.' biggest star, dissolves into tears while lamenting everything that's happened to her so far in the film. It arguably marks the beginning of her defrosting.
  • Oh, Crap!: Elmer, having been turned into a Pointillist artwork, has enough time to get in an "Aw, cwud" before Bugs blows him away with a portable fan.
  • Old-Timey Cinema Countdown: "Mother" produces a VHS tape that explains the significance of the Blue Monkey Diamond. The tape begins with the cinematic countdown before actor Peter Graves, in an Affectionate Parody of his Jim Phelps role, narrates the mystic power of the Blue Monkey: it has the power to transmute people into monkeys, and vice versa. The comic subtext is that the US government can house an Elaborate Underground Base (Area 52) that still uses antiquated methods of counter-intelligence.
  • Painted Tunnel, Real Train: Parodied and subverted during the chase scene at the beginning. Daffy leaps into a canvas depicting a tunnel, and then DJ leaps through the canvas, creating a massive hole.
    Daffy: Well, that's just cheating.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: D.J. dresses up as one of the Yosemite Sam background dancers to board the casino stage and talk to Dusty Tails. However, the clothes barely fit him and he is very tall while the dancers are dwarf-sized. Neither the audience nor Dusty Tails were fooled.
  • Pendulum of Death: In the film's climax, the Chairman's Death Trap for DJ's father includes one of these on top of a Train of Death, crates of TNT, and a 2-ton anvil. However, he decides that the Pendulum of Doom is overkill and orders Wile E. Coyote to remove it.
  • Pick a Card: When Elmer demands the Queen of Diamonds, Bugs shuffles it into a regular deck of cards and makes Elmer play this in order to distract him.
    Bugs: [for about the twentieth time] This?
    Elmer: I said, it's the Qween o' Diamonds, I tell ya!
    Bugs: You mean like this one? [snatches the card out of mid-air and runs off]
  • Pinky Swear: Mother apparently made Damian pinky-swear not to tell anyone about his secret mission. When she learns that he broke his promise and told DJ, despite the mitigating circumstances of being about to get captured, she's not happy about it.
    Mother: What is the point of making them pinky swear!?
  • Political Overcorrectness:
    • In the Warner Bros. dining area, Porky and Speedy Gonzales are seen commiserating that they can't find work. Speedy, because he's been branded a stereotype to Mexicans and Latinos; Porky, because his stuttering is considered offensive to those with speech impediments.
    • Over at the next table, Bugs and Kate struggle to come up with a good film idea without Daffy since most of Bug's usual comedy shticks, like cross-dressing, are now frowned upon. It's an uphill struggle, to say the least.
    Bugs: Lady, if you don't find a rabbit with lipstick amusin', you and I have nuthin' to say to each other.
  • Product Placement: Lampshaded when a Walmart shows up out of nowhere in the middle of the desert. Everyone gets into the act pointing out the absurdity of it, but Bugs gets the best quip.
    Bugs: Nice of Walmart to provide these Walmart beverages in return for us saying Walmart so many times.
  • "Psycho" Shower Murder Parody: Bugs performs one after Kate walks in on him in the shower. Naturally, he milks it for all it's worth, complete with pouring chocolate syrup down the drain to suggest blood. Kate is not impressed.
    Bugs: ...doesn't anyone knock anymore?
  • Punch-Clock Villain: A deleted scene reveals that the henchman played by Goldberg is literally this, clocking out when the whistle blows during the middle of a climatic battle.
  • The Quiet One: The henchman played by Goldberg only speaks once, in the above mentioned deleted scene. Daffy even lampshades this afterwards, saying "See, I told you that guy could talk".
  • Real Award, Fictional Character: Bugs Bunny argues with the humorless Kate Houghton about rehiring Daffy Duck, and bolsters his argument with five Oscar statuettes of himself and a chunk of granite with his Walk of Fame star on it. For the record, five Warner Brothers cartoons have won an Oscar at the time of the film's release, but only one went to a Bugs Bunny cartoon: "Knighty Knight Bugs". Bugs does have a real star on the Walk of Fame, though.
  • "Rediscovering Roots" Trip: Parodied in the Africa sequence, when Tweety encounters a flock of multicolored Tweety Birds.
    Tweety: I've discovered my woots!
    Sylvester: I've discovered my lunch.
    [the birds whistle "I tawt I taw a putty tat!" and start attacking Sylvester]
    Tweety: [dressed in a tribal outfit] Cwy fweedom!
  • Rental Car Abuse: Shortly after arresting the evil Acme Chairman, superspy Damian Drake and everyone else in the Acme boardroom must flee a spaceship that comes crashing into the room. Once the craft comes to a stop, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck casually emerge.
    Bugs Bunny: I think we scratched it.
    Daffy Duck: Don't worry; it's a rental.
  • Road Trip Plot: The main characters are going from place to place looking for DJ's father.
  • Robot Dog: An evil one tries to stop DJ from rescuing his dad.
  • Rule of Funny: As opposed to Space Jam, which had a more conventional plot, this is basically a Looney Tunes short extended to 90 minutes that just happens to be partially-made in live-action. Accept this, as it's the only way you could possibly enjoy the movie.
  • Runaway Train: The ACME Train of Death, driven by Wile E. Coyote, as part of the ACME Chairman's plan to kill DJ's father. It instead just picks up the assorted crates of TNT on the track (that were also part of the plot).
  • Samus Is a Girl: Bob Smith, Mr. Chairman's mute bodyguard played by Goldberg, is revealed to be a Tasmanian She-Devil.
  • Scooby-Dooby Paintings: Done with Elmer chasing Bugs and Daffy through the Louvre's gallery, complete with Art Shifts every time they move to a new painting.
  • "The Scream" Parody: There's a chase scene at the Louvre with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd jumping in and out of famous paintings, and one of the paintings is The Scream. When Elmer thinks he has Bugs and Daffy cornered, Bugs stomps on Elmer's foot, resulting in Elmer Fudd screaming in a fashion similar to the painting's subject.
  • Self-Botched Catchphrase: It forms a Brick Joke, with Porky Pig complaining about the studio telling him to fix his stutter in the first few minutes of the movie. At the end, he stutters so much he can't even get his usual "That's all, folks!" out, even as the lights go off around him. He ends up just having to grimace and say "Go home, folks."
  • Self-Deprecation: Warner Bros. took a potshot at one of their own movies during the cafeteria scene when Shaggy and Scooby-Doo verbally rip Matthew Lillard over his portrayal of the former in the Live-Action Adaptation of Scooby-Doo.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Hey, whadda ya know? I found Nemo!"
    • Daffy's "Guess who?" when popping out of D.J.'s backpack at the Drake residence is a subtle nod to Woody Woodpecker's "Guess who?" (with Mel Blanc's voice) at the beginning of every Woodpecker short in its original series.
    • Bugs recreates the iconic shower murder scene from Psycho, complete with a few drops of chocolate syrup in the water to suggest blood (not as effective in color).
    • There's a scene in the casino of every Looney Tunes dog character playing poker.
    • There are also a couple of Daleks, along with an army of 1950's b-movie aliens and Robby the Robot, in Area 52.
    • During the climax, after Marvin is sucked out of his own spaceship, Bugs and Daffy think that they've lost him. Unbeknownst to them, Marvin has mysteriously clung to the underside of their spaceship.
    • There is a side-view of Madeline in the France act.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • When Elmer confronts the heroes at gunpoint, Bugs asks, "Em, what gives, Doc? We made 35 pictures together!" If you count only the theatrical shorts (not any made-for TV shorts such as "Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers"), 35 is the amount of cartoons Bugs and Elmer appeared in together.
    • The sheer number of cameos from even the most obscure of Tunes characters demonstrates this—Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog eat lunch together in the background of the cafe, the Three Bears are vacationing in France, and damn near every single canine character turns up during the casino scene, playing poker.
    • Bugs pulls out five Oscar statuettes and a chunk of granite from the Hollywood Walk of Fame with his name on it during his conversation with Kate at the cafe. Five is in fact the correct number of Looney Tunes shorts that have won Academy Awards at the time of the film's release (although Bugs was in only one of them), and he does in fact have a star on the HWOF.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Don and Dan Stanton show up as "Mr. Warner" and "Mr. Warner's Brother". Joe Dante fans might remember them as the grown-up versions of Ernest and Bertram Wilson from Eerie, Indiana.
  • Spit Take: Mother takes a sip of some strange blue liquid, but spits it out only when DJ mentions the Blue Monkey. DJ took a sniff at the liquid and repulsed by the smell.
  • Split-Screen Phone Call: Bugs and Daffy do this when Bugs has plans to help Daffy get his job back. And they even push the split-screen line back and forth, into one another!
  • Stealth Pun: As DJ and Daffy go into the garage, the theme from Gremlins (which was also directed by Dante and whose score was also composed by Jerry Goldsmith) sneaks into the music. Guess what model of car they drive off in.
  • Take That!:
    • Porky and Speedy have some grievances in the cafeteria...
    Porky Pig: F-f-first they told me to lose the stutter, now they tell me I'm not funny! [sigh] It's a pain in the butt being p-p-politically correct.
    Speedy Gonzales: You're telling me.
    • During the same scene, Scooby and Shaggy chastise Matthew Lillard over his performance in Scooby-Doo.
    • Also, during Mr. Chairman's succession of unmaskings, one of the disguises is... Michael Jordan. Which is quickly discarded.
    • Ron Perlman's character (the VP who gets devoured by Taz) is a not-too subtle caricature of Ted Turner.
    • Given the directors' desire to make an "anti-Space Jam", it seems probable that Kate's plan to team Bugs up with a "hot female co-star" in order to "reposition his brand identity" was intended as a swipe at that film's Lola Bunny.
    • The character Kate Houghton was based on a producer named Dalisa Cooper Cohen, one of the producers on Quest for Camelot. She is portrayed as a person who doesn't know what she's doing and making controversial changes to animated characters, specifically Bugs Bunny and to a lesser extent Daffy.
  • Take That, Audience!:
    • Kate reports that Bugs Bunny is popular with both men and women of all ages and nationalities, whereas Daffy Duck is only popular with "angry, fat guys in basements."
    • They also comment on how the audience just accepts Product Placement without questioning it, such as when they discover Wal-Mart in the desert.
  • Talking with Signs: Wile E. Coyote. He even uses them to answer the phone when Acme first contacts him.
    • Then when his train is about to be blown up by the explosives stuck on front of it...
      "They don't pay me enough."
  • Teleporter Accident: There is a scene where Mr. Chairman transports the main characters to his office; however, a glitch caused their body parts to switch around (ex: DJ has Bugs' tail, Kate has Daffy's legs, etc.) This was immediately fixed afterwards.
  • Tempting Fate: The ACME Chairman tells Wile E. Coyote to watch out for various expensive and valuable things, each time Wile E. runs in to them.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: The government video explaining the ACME Chairman's Evil Plan:
    Daffy: (upon being restored to his original solid self): Unbelievable!
    Man in video: "Unbelievable," you may say.
  • There Is No Kill Like Over Kill: Parodied with the Chairman's deathtrap.
    ACME Chairman: ''You see, if the Train of Death doesn't kill him, then those crates of TNT will. Not to mention the 2-ton anvil hanging over his head, and— Oh, look. There's the Pendulum of Doom! What's the Pendulum of Doom doing there?! I did not order the Pendulum of Doom! It's overkill! Get rid of it!
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After being the Butt-Monkey for the entire film, Daffy weaponizes the fact that his beak gets constantly blown off and uses it to stop the satellite from firing, thus making him the hero.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: This one sure does! Bet you're headed over to Amazon already, though!
  • Trailer Spoof: One trailer appeared to be for the next James Bond movie, showing 007 onscreen. Then it turned upside down and pulled back...
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Spoofed when the gang realize they need to get from the desert to Paris. When Daffy asks how they are going to do that, Bugs simply says, "Like this!" and then pulls the side of the screen like a page, changing the current setting to Paris.
  • Troubled Production: Both in-universe and out.
  • Twinkle Smile: Duck Dodge-*boom* I mean, Daffy, after he saves Bugs from falling to his doom after he blew the satellite up.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    Kate: You can't fire me! My films have made $950 million!
    Brother #1: That's not a billion.
    Brother #2: Nope. Not a billion.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: invoked An underlying theme of the movie is Daffy's designated Butt-Monkey status and unappreciated role in comparison to Bugs Bunny. The movie outright lampshades the fact that despite his unpopularity, he is out and out pivotal to the dynamic of the characters, and Kate even frustratedly points out how no one and yet everyone can love him at the same time. This is what leads to the page quote: while Daffy has to endure pain to get laughs, Bugs just has to 'munch on a carrot' to be effortlessly lovable. Whether intentional or not, after this movie was released, Warner Bros. started to focus a LOT more on Daffy rather than just on Bugs. Besides merchandising, he got his own series, and takes much of the focus in The Looney Tunes Show. Guess Bugs really did speak up to those Warner Brothers on Daffy's behalf...
  • Viva Las Vegas!: Though D.J. and Daffy never actually get to enjoy the sights, D.J. goes undercover as a dancing extra behind a correspondence, they get their first clue on their search from a dancer played by Heather Locklear, the Head of Acme hires Yosemite Sam to catch them, and it's where they meet up with Bugs and Kate! Bugs even sings the song while driving there... at least until Kate throws his ukulele out of the car.
  • Water Tower Down: Daffy Duck causes DJ to run the Batmobile into the Warner Bros tower and knock it over, flooding a few scenes, ending the chase scene, and getting DJ fired.
  • Welcome to My World: Said by Daffy during the car chase.
    Kate: Dynamite? Who has dynamite?
    Daffy: Pfft... welcome to my world.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Bugs feels this way about Daffy being fired, and eventually Kate sees the error of her ways too.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After providing exposition, the item D.J. and Daffy need and beating up Yosemite Sam’s henchmen in a few swift moves, Dusty Tails disappears from the plot altogether, leaving the heroes to deal with said henchmen and Sam as they try to get out of the casino.
  • Wish Upon a Shooting Star: Played With: hen Yosemite Sam sends himself flying after accidentally lighting some TNT, Bugs cracks a joke by telling everybody in the flying car to make a wish.
  • Wolf Whistle: Daffy does this twice during the film: once after Dusty Tails finishes changing and walks out in a sexy, skin-tight leather catsuit, and again when he's blasted through a dressing room where a bunch of showgirls are dressing.
  • Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: Lampshaded.
    Daffy: Don't start that again!
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: When Mr Chairman and the protagonists are teleported back to ACME Headquarters, Mr Chairman shows D.J. his father being tied to train tracks, and tells him to hand over the Blue Monkey or else. D.J. grudgingly obliges, but when he asks about his father, the Chairman's simple response is "He's waiting for a train".


Video Example(s):


Looney Tunes unzipping suits

Played straight and then parodied in true Looney Tunes fashion...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / FullBodyDisguise

Media sources: