There's nothing more satisfying as a movie critic than going into a screening with low expectations and coming out tickled pink and grinning ear to ear, which is exactly what happened to me when I saw "Looney Tunes: Back in Action."

Fully anticipating another gimmick-driven shoulder-shrug of a live-action/cartoon hybrid like 1996's "Space Jam," I hadn't put enough faith in director Joe Dante ("Gremlins," "Small Soldiers"), who has been a rabid aficionado of Warner Bros. cartoons his whole life, and who poured every ounce of that enthusiasm into this screwball flick.

Although it gets off to a weak start with a studio board meeting where the humans are worse actors than the cartoons (and interact with them unconvincingly), after it sluffs off its clumsy plot establishing -- in which Daffy Duck is fired by the suits -- it becomes as truly looney-tooney as a fan of classic Warner shorts could ever dream of.

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