Film: Men in Black II

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Film:

Men in Black II

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
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Genres:
Distributor: Sony Pictures

More remake than sequel, Men in Black II safely repeats everything that made Men in Black the blockbuster hit of 1997. That’s fine if you loved the original’s fresh humor, weird aliens, and loopy ingenuity, but as sequels go, it’s pure déjà vu. Makeup wizard Rick Baker is the only MIB alumnus who’s trying anything new, while director Barry Sonnenfeld and costars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (as alien-fighting agents Jay and Kay, respectively) are on autopilot with an uninspired screenplay. The quest of a multitentacled alien—on Earth in the…

Reviews

Amazon.com

More remake than sequel, Men in Black II safely repeats everything that made Men in Black the blockbuster hit of 1997. That’s fine if you loved the original’s fresh humor, weird aliens, and loopy ingenuity, but as sequels go, it’s pure déjà vu. Makeup wizard Rick Baker is the only MIB alumnus who’s trying anything new, while director Barry Sonnenfeld and costars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (as alien-fighting agents Jay and Kay, respectively) are on autopilot with an uninspired screenplay. The quest of a multitentacled alien—on Earth in the form of Lara Flynn Boyle—for the light of Zartha requires Jay to deneuralize Kay, whose restored memory contains the key to saving the planet. The tissue-thin premise allows all varieties of special effects—mostly familiar, with some oddly hilarious new stuff tossed in for good measure. Certainly enjoyable as a popcorn distraction, but the MIB magic has worn a bit thin. —Jeff Shannon

Barnes and Noble

Every bit as entertaining as its 1997 predecessor, this high-spirited, effects-laden romp reunites Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones for more sci-fi fun and explosive action. Director Barry Sonnenfeld, who also directed the first MiB, sticks pretty close to the winning formula he established for the initial film but mixes in a few new elements to spice things up. This time around, Lara Flynn Boyle portrays an evil alien who assumes a luscious humanoid form while paving the way for Earth’s conquest. It falls to INS special agent Smith (working in the top-secret division entrusted with keeping tabs on visiting extraterrestrials) to bring the long-retired Jones back into the fold, because his ex-partner’s brain holds the vital clue to identifying and apprehending the recently arrived invader. Smith’s boyish demeanor and Jones’s deadpan trouping make MiB II a real delight; moreover, they receive capable support from Boyle, Rosario Dawson, and returning cast members Rip Torn and Tony Shalhoub. Terrific makeup effects and computer-generated animation are employed skillfully, and some of the aliens (including one disguised as a bulldog) are just as funny as their human costars. Occasionally witty and always surreal, this madcap sequel is guaranteed to tickle the funny bones of those who loved the original. The two-disc DVD Collector’s Edition features a Sonnenfeld commentary, as well as featurettes covering every aspect of MiB II’s making, including production design, makeup, animatics, and other visual effects, sound recording, and music scoring. There’s also an alternate ending, a music video by Will Smith, a blooper reel, and DVD-ROM content, including script-to-screen comparisons. Ed Hulse

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This imaginative summer comedy from director Barry Sonnenfeld (Get Shorty) is a lot of fun, largely on the strength of Will Smith’s engaging performance as the rookie partner of a secret agent (Tommy Lee Jones) assigned to keep tabs on Earth-dwelling extraterrestrials. There’s lots of comedy to spare in this bright film, some of the funniest stuff found in the margins of the major action. (A scene with Smith’s character being trounced in the distance by a huge alien while Jones questions a witness is a riot.) The inventiveness never lets up, and the…

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