A pumped-up retread of the 1996 live-action/animation comedy, Space Jam: A New Legacy updates both its star, replacing Michael Jordan with LeBron James, and its gags for the modern era. Directed by Malcolm B. Lee, the film provides James with a fictionalized version of his family, and a son Dom (Cedric Joe) who’d rather spend time working on video games than hooping. Brought to the Warner Brothers lot in an attempt to woo the sports superstar to lend himself to a plethora of content, James and son find themselves taken hostage by a rogue sentient computer algorithm Al G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle) and trapped in a digital world of WarnerMedia intellectual properties. The only escape is through a high stakes game of basketball where James is teamed with some classic Looney Tunes characters to battle it out with the nefarious Goon Squad.
While James as a lead is entertaining, and there could be some interesting lesson about the pitfalls of the algorithmic driven world we live in, the message of the film is so muddled in the hyper-paced pop culture references and retread WarnerMedia content that the movie itself feels more algorithmically designed than anything laid out in the plot. And maybe that’s the lesson after all, you can’t please everyone, but you can certainly ask a computer to mash-up nearly a century of studio content into a two-hour film and generate some new cross-over marketing opportunities out of it.