We are begging you all to move on from your childhood nostalgia, because it’s exhausting to try and explain creative bankruptcy to the studio system’s more ardent defenders. It’s the cheapest form of capitalism; it is serving you dog food and calling it lobster.

Here that dog food is the new Space Jam movie, a copy-paste of the 1996 Michael Jordan-led film wherein a star basketball player (this time LeBron James) is sucked into an animated world alongside the Looney Tunes, whereupon he’s got to compete in a high-stakes basketball game. Don Cheadle is perplexingly in this movie. Even Bugs Bunny could have done better.

Of course, easy cash-grabs like this will always exist. Space Jam: A New Legacy isn’t trying to be good, nor was the original Space Jam. I can accept that. But when films act only as promotion for a studio’s content library—a reminder that HBO Max sure has some great programs in this case—I’m left in awe of the naked shamelessness.

Many readers will counter me: “Oh, come on. It’s just a kid’s movie!”

False. A New Legacy was not made for kids—it was made for late-20s/early-30s millennials who can’t find full-time work but, bafflingly, are still willing to shell out $15 to see a crappy “new” rendition of their childhood favorites. A New Legacy is stuffed with ’90s “nostalgia” for a reason. In no way are kids the target audience here, and to say otherwise is delusion. Every three minutes, you’ll be reminded the movie takes place in a “WarnerVerse” (not kidding), a sad attempt to remind you about everything the AT&T parent company has on its streaming service. It’s like Ready Player One for people who don’t bother with hobbies and we’re strangled with cameos from Harry Potter, The Iron Giant, Mad Max, the DC universe as well as perennial youth faves like Pennywise the Clown, Casablanca and even A Clockwork Orange—all for the kiddos!

Did you know Game of Thrones is streaming on HBO Max? This movie will constantly remind you. Whoa. Thanks, Space Jam!


+ The animation

- It exists

Space Jam: A New Legacy

Directed by Malcolm D. Lee

With James, Cheadle and Bunny

HBO Max, PG, 115 min.