Space Jam

Movie review by
David Gurney, Common Sense Media
Space Jam Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
'90s live-action-animation mix has some cartoon violence.
  • PG
  • 1996
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 38 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Some messages on teamwork and "practice makes perfect," but likely to be lost in the comedy and cartoon pratfalls and violence. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

In a flashback scene, a young Michael Jordan is shown practicing basketball late into the night in his family's driveway. 

Violence & Scariness

Cartoon violence throughout. Elmer Fudd shoots his hunting rifle. Yosemite Sam fires his pistols. Lasers. Explosions. 

Sexy Stuff

Some innuendo. While on a psychiatrist's couch after losing his ability to play basketball, Patrick Ewing is asked by the psychiatrist if he's "unable to perform" in other areas; Ewing acts offended and angrily answers, "No!" Sylvester the Cat uses a fishing line to drop the pants of one of the "Monstars," exposing his rear end. Monsters show up to a basketball game in a raincoat; a woman seated next to them tells her companion, "This man is doing something very weird in his raincoat." 


Infrequent mild profanity, some innuendo. "Hell." "Sucks" also used. "Dork." Jokes made at the expense of an overweight character. Some potty humor involving flatulence, and Porky Pig announcing, "I wet myself."


Product placement. Michael Jordan shown in his hotel room sipping from a McDonald's soft drink cup. In the same scene, another character gratuitously mentions Nike, Hanes, Gatorade, and Wheaties. V-8 commercial slogan used as a punchline. Piggly Wiggly grocery store prominently shown in one scene. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The leader of the bad guys smokes a cigar. A special liquid formula is given to the Looney Tunes to increase their basketball skills, but it's shown to really be water, having only a placebo effect.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Space Jam is a 1996 live/animated comedy in which Michael Jordan joins Bugs Bunny and other Warner Brothers cartoon characters to defeat the "Monstars." Keeping with the tradition of older Warner Brothers cartoons, there's quite a bit of cartoon violence and exaggerated pratfalls. There's also some potty humor involving flatulence, and Porky Pig announcing, "I wet myself." Some of the jokes veer into adult territory, like a psychiatrist asking a basketball player who has lost his ability to play basketball if he is "unable to perform" in other areas. The main bad guy smokes a cigar. Gratuitous product placement in one scene, where Michael Jordan sips from a McDonald's soft drink cup while another character rattles off the names of four other brands. One of the characters is overweight, and there are constant jokes made about it at his expense. "Hell" and "sucks" are said.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBleh B. April 13, 2018

Space Jam: A Theatrical Masterpiece

How is a comedic, animated film with cartoon characters able to bring in such a large cult following? The answer lies within our own minds. Still, don't un... Continue reading
Parent of a 9 and 11-year-old Written bymarkegiani September 25, 2020
Teen, 15 years old Written byFactsJack April 19, 2021
Teen, 13 years old Written byS28947042 April 9, 2021

What's the story?

Made shortly after Michael Jordan's first retirement from basketball and his short foray into professional baseball, SPACE JAM marks an attempt to revive the Looney Tunes franchise by creating a big-budget live-action/animation feature riding on the basketball superstar's coattails. Bugs, Porky, Tweety, and other favorite Looney Tune characters assemble a basketball team, including Michael Jordan as a member, to defeat a group of aliens, the Nerdlucks, who are trying to enslave the Tunes as attractions in their outer space theme park.

Is it any good?

This movie does little to revive the Looney Tunes characters, who pretty much stick to their tried and true (and violent) antics, even in a new setting. As for Jordan, his athletic prowess need not be proven, but the mix of animation in the basketball sequences tends to trivialize his abilities. With cartoon characters bouncing around every which way and easily slam-dunking the ball, Jordan's acrobatics seem minor in comparison.

While the film fails on many counts to best utilize the characters at its disposal, it's still likely to impress younger viewers, especially those without any sentimental attachment to the original Looney Tunes cartoons. By standing up against their potential slave masters, the Tunes' efforts are admirable, so the overall message is fairly positive. Jokes about merchandising and Jordan's ill-fated baseball career are thrown in for the older folks. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether or not they think the blending of animation and live-action in Space Jam works. Would this movie have been better as a completely animated feature?

  • How does the movie use product placement? Why do you think some movies advertise products within the scenes? What are your thoughts on product placement in movies?

  • How was cartoon violence used for the sake of comedy, and how does the violence allude to older Warner Brothers cartoons? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports and cartoons

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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