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There aren’t many kids’ flicks that try to get laughs from a Salvador Dali painting one minute and a machine that makes you slap yourself the next. And that’s what makes Looney Tunes: Back in Action such a tasty throwback: In an age of preachy dinosaurs and mincing Tinky Winkys, the creators of this predominantly live-action effort have bravely decided not only to mimic the high/low humor of the decades-old Looney Tunes cartoon series, but also to keep things decidedly and delightfully un-PC. Therefore Daffy Duck’s bill still gets blown off by a gun-happy Elmer Fudd; a corporate honcho bellows, “We cannot have 9-year-olds working in sweatshops making Acme sneakers—not when 3-year-olds work for so much less!”; and race-car driver Jeff Gordon gets called a “fancy boy.” And in the meantime, the kiddies might learn a little something about surrealism or, at the very least, expand their vocabulary—how many cartoon characters nowadays chase after “absconders” and later “demand recompense”? Back in Action opens with the contract negotiations of Daffy and rival (and “perpetrator of low burlesque”) Bugs Bunny. When Warner Bros. executive Kate Houghton (Jenna Elfman) throws Daffy out on his tail, he teams up with fired studio security guard/stuntman DJ (Brendan Fraser) to solve a mystery surrounding DJ’s superspy/actor dad, Damien Drake (Timothy Dalton), and a blue diamond. The diamond, of course, is also sought by evil Acme head Mr. Chairman (Steve Martin), and the quest to find it brings the whole lot to Las Vegas. Although Elfman’s attempt to play straight woman barely registers, both Martin and Fraser ham it up with gusto, spinning their lines with an appropriate cartoonishness that makes the pairing of animated and real-live actors almost seamless. An impressive number of Tunes characters make cameos—the majors voiced with spooky Mel Blanc-ness by Joe Alaskey—and up-to-date tweaks such as having Wile E. Coyote buy his WMDs on the Internet add freshness. True, the little ones might miss a few of the film’s too-sophisticated zingers, but that’s a minor complaint: At least they won’t be treated like maroons. —Tricia Olszewski