September 10, 2009
Our Flick of the Week is "Space Jam" -- you may have heard of it. A certain basketball player teams with cartoon characters to defeat -- it would be silly, wouldn't it, if I wrote, "tries to defeat" -- animated aliens threatening to wreck the Looney Tunes gang as well as an array of NBA stars ranging (in height) from Shawn Bradley to Muggsy Bogues, a span of 27 inches.
How good is Michael Jordan playing himself? Very good. He wisely accepted as a first movie a script that builds nicely on his genial personality in an assortment of TV ads. The sound bites are just a little longer. He also delivers dialogue that is as sharp as what comes from his public persona. In other words, he doesn't play a character who is hard to believe, nor does he play a dumbed-down version of himself. Sounds obvious? Tell it to Shaquille O'Neal and his dumb genie character in the disastrous "Kazaam." Movie score: Bulls 1, Lakers 0.
Michael's assets as a film star are many. He is great-looking; his eyes sparkle, and he has a star aura. All that holds him back from establishing a career is script selection. Supporting roles and working with good directors should figure into the mix. Bill Murray is fine for broad comic relief as Michael's teammate, and Wayne Knight from "Seinfeld" manages to fill out the traditional fat guy role with a measure of dignity. By the way, tell your kids you want to wait a few days before seeing "Space Jam." The lines will be long and the frustration level (if you get shut out) will be high.
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