Men in Black Sequel Is Missing Crucial Chemistry
- Monday, June 10, 2002
Men in Black II - PG-13
Best for: Mature teens and adults
The plot: It's been several years since agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) left Men in Black -- the highly funded unofficial government agency that regulates aliens who visit (or live) on earth, protecting mankind from the scum of the universe -- leaving agent Jay (Will Smith) in charge. When Jay uncovers an intricate plot to recover a "light" by the evil Kylothian monster Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), he can turn to only one person for help in solving the mystery. Jay finds Kay in a post office and, after much convincing, restores his memory. The two team up against a group of power-hungry aliens to save their friends (imprisoned at MIB headquarters) and the world from destruction. Rip Torn, Patrick Warburton, Linda Kim, Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub also star.
The good: Director Barry Sonnenfeld has delivered an action-packed special effects extravaganza complete with amazing creatures, funny dialogue (the worms are my favorite), a few surprises and a thought-provoking ending. Boyle plays against type as a super-strong creature trying to regain universal power, and Knoxville plays an annoying two-headed alien with limited intelligence and a creepy miniature head that bobs from his back. Tony Shalhoub is back as the pathetic pawnshop/gun vender, but this time he saves the day by restoring agent Kay's memory.
There's plenty of action, incredible special effects, a "jiggy" soundtrack with a rap number from Smith, a beautiful damsel in distress, a gorgeous alien and lots of interesting gizmos and gadgets that make this a great summer popcorn movie for older teens and adults.
This movie is entertaining and filled with more impressive special effects and aliens than the first MIB. The story uses many of the same characters from the first movie, but a few new enemies make this entry a little scarier. This visual sci-fi treat made me laugh and enjoy the ride, but I missed the chemistry between Smith and Jones that made the first MIB an instant hit and classic.
The bad: The challenge with sequels is to recapture the same hilarious chemistry that made the previous movie enjoyable. This time around the aliens end up getting more laughs than Smith and Jones, a disappointing departure from the first movie. Smith seems to be a little more subdued (maybe he was tired coming off Ali) and never really gets to roll with his trademark ad-libs. Jones seems to be walking through his part; he literally appears to have forgotten what made the first one so much fun to watch.
I'm not blaming the actors, but their trademark verbal sparing and one-line zingers from the first movie could have made this sequel even better.
Offensive language and behavior: Crude and scatological terms, along with some suggestive sexual humor and dialogue (mostly by the worms). Several scenes show aliens with drinks and cigarettes in their hands, partying with each other.
Sexual situations: No sexual situations, but an alien takes the form of a Victoria's Secret model and is shown in skimpy underwear. Various characters wear suggestive outfits (showing cleavage). Two characters exchange sexually suggestive dialogue about a former relationship.
Violence: The plot involves aliens invading earth, so there's going to be a lot of shooting, stunning and zapping. One character has his head blown off, but it immediately grows back. This movie has gross special effects (Serleena has snakelike tentacles that protrude from her fingers and wrap around characters) and disgusting looking aliens, which give it a high "yuck" factor.
Parental advisory: Your younger kids will want to see this movie because of the star appeal and reputation of the first MIB, but the "PG-13" rating is appropriate due to all of the sci-fi violence, adult humor and creepy looking aliens. Use your parental discretion in taking younger children.
It's a wrap: I went to this movie with great expectations, but I have to admit I was a little disappointed. Is it a sequel worth seeing? Yes, it's an entertaining, thrilling crowd-pleaser that doesn't take itself too seriously. Smith and Jones make it enjoyable and fun, but with a little more character depth and a few good lines, MIB II could have been a classic.
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