There's Something About Jessica
I admit it, I had a thing for Jessica Rabbit as a teen, well let's be honest with those curves what red blooded male wouldn't have a thing for Jessica even if she was a cartoon character. But the curvy Jessica is just one part of what makes Robert Zemeckis's "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" such a great movie even now 25 years later. From Bob Hoskins ideally cast as a noir style detective to the multitude of well known cartoon faces which pop up it is a visual delight packed full of gags from the handcuff scene as Eddie Valiant finds himself handcuffed to the toon to when we first clap eyes on Jessica Rabbit. But what is more special is that whilst "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" is now 25 years old and technology has moved on it doesn't once feel old or dated which makes it as much fun now as it ever was.
When toon star Roger Rabbit becomes distracted by rumours that his sexy wife Jessica Rabbit is playing patty cake with someone else, private investigator Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins - The Cotton Club) is hired to tail Jessica and discover the truth. But things turn dirty when Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye) is murdered and Roger becomes the main suspect causing him to p-p-p-plead with Eddie to not only protect him but prove his innocence especially as Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd - Clue) is on the war path with all toons and will drop Roger in a vat of acid if he finds him.
Where do you start to describe and review "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" as there is so much going on. There is the noir style storyline as we have private investigator Eddie Valiant first called in to prove that Roger's wife Jessica has been cheating on him and then investigating the murder of Marvin Acme. It has all the elements of classic film noir, a thriller where Eddie would find his life in danger whilst falling for a buxom broad except we are in a cartoon world with a curvy Jessica Rabbit. And whilst it is only a little surprise when the mystery of who murdered Marvin Acme is solved and Eddie has protected the wrongly accused Roger it's still entertaining because it is so well written.
But then you have the classic comedy side of things which starts with an amusing cartoon as we are introduced to Roger filming a cartoon with Baby Herman. Not only do we get all the craziness of the cartoon world with one hilarious scene of cartoon slapstick after another but we also get the characters. And here is the thing yes there are some which are expected such as Daffy Duck but then you get Disney cartoon characters as well from Dumbo through to the brooms from Fantasia. All of these characters from the new to the old all add something quite magical to the movie even if many only appear as faces in the crowd.
Now the combination of classic noir with cartoon to make "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" cartoon-noir could have been terrible if it wasn't for the fact that director Robert Zemeckis makes sure that the two combine effortlessly. From a technical point of view the way Bob Hoskins and all the actors interact with the cartoon characters is seamless and the way the backdrop blends from real to animation is just as impressive. But then you also have the combination of styles and watching Roger deliver a classic cartoon gag to the expense of Eddie is just amazing, such as the handcuff scene which is not only funny but delivers a brilliant comedy pay off which is as funny as the initial actual gag. To put it simply Zemeckis does what seemed impossible and take noir and cartoon and combines them not just visually but also in the humour and the storyline so that it feels all natural and strangely real, as if cartoon characters and real people live side by side in real life.
Of course a big reason why "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" works is down to the casting of Bob Hoskins who is perfect as private investigator Eddie Valiant. Hoskins looks natural as an old gum shoe style character, loves a drink, has a bit of history to trouble him and doesn't like toons. But then his comic timing is spot on so that with the aid of the brilliant animators every single joke comes off. Talking of which you have to say that the team of animators have done a sublime job not only by making the interactions smooth but also for creating some memorable characters. Of course Roger Rabbit is the star of the movie and is a highly amusing character but it is the shapely Jessica Rabbit which you never forget, from her incredible bust to her shapely bum this is a fantasy come true especially with the husky voice of Kathleen Turner making her all the more sexy.
Ironically "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" also has a few other stars and the most notable of which is Christopher Lloyd who plays Judge Doom. But despite a solid performance from Lloyd you end up forgetting him because Bob Hoskins and the animators who deliver Roger and Jessica are on such fine form.
What this all boils down to is that "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" is still a stunning movie on so many levels. Yes the technical side of it, the seamless merging of real life and animation is simply brilliant but it is also the combination of film-noir with the craziness of cartoon which is just as good. It means that you have a well rounded movie which is amusing, is visually stunning yet also has a solid enough storyline. Oh and it also has Jessica Rabbit which helps to make it unforgettable.