MEN IN BLACK 2
It has been four years since the Men in Black averted an intergalactic disaster; Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) has returned to civilian life, working in a small post-office and has no memory of the days when he was an agent. But when Agent Jay (Will Smith) uncovers a diabolical plot masterminded by Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), an evil Kylothian snake monster who disguises herself as a lingerie model, Kay is called back to help save the planet.
Review by Louise Keller:
They’re back and they’re still in black, delighting us all in another bizarre, out-of-this world frenzy of fun. While the storyline may not have the dramatic curve of the first film, Men in Black II is fast and very funny with a plethora of wild effects and inventive ideas. Like a comic book on speed, it’s easy to be seduced by the exuberant energy and frivolous folly of the whole concept. It’s as though Barry Sonnenfeld has taken the original and shaken it wildly, delivering more froth as a result. Alien worms sipping martinis, reclining in bubble baths and monsters of all shapes, sizes and colours – what a wonderfully wacky assortment for Agents Jay and Kay to contend with. There’s plenty of mileage from Frank, the pugnacious talking Pug, who wants to play good cop, dumb dog (and even dons a black suit at one point), but all eyes are on Lara Flynn Boyle’s voluptuous villainess with Victoria’s Secret-seductive manifestation and slithering, slimy snake fingers. Boyle has a lot of fun with Serleena (‘This silly little planet – anyone could rule it with the right set of mammary glands’) and her Siamese-twin sidekick with two heads is a little like a ventriloquist with a dummy eerily peering over his shoulder. I especially enjoyed the little throwaways – like a cameo by Michael Jackson and a clever joke about postal workers, which may cause you never to look at your postie the same way again! The car trip flying through the air in Time Square is also a blast. But the heart and strength of the film remains with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, who dazzle with their banter and onscreen chemistry. The role reversal theme works well, although it is clear in the early scenes before Jones is reunited with Smith, that the success of the film lies in the chemistry between the two of them and that comfortable spontaneity they exude. The effects are gee-whizz, and with its arresting production design and playful soundtrack, it’s 88 minutes of unadulterated, enjoyable nonsense.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
There’s so much energy and clever invention in the script, ideas bursting out of the ‘anything goes’ framework of the basic concept, that the one thing the writers and director forget about is to tell a coherent story. Story is relegated to ‘plot outline’ status amidst the wonderful aliens, the hip dialogue, the cool armoury and the hot babe inside whom is the mother of all baddies. Or shoulda been; Lara Flynn Boyle doesn’t really work as the baddie, not even when she manifests as the thousand-headed snake. Great effects, though. The main product placement (Mercedes) is made to work too hard for little result, as is Frank, the talking pooch, who is so overused this time that he becomes a bore. Too bad, because this sequel had all the promise of a really entertaining return to the special genre of dry humoured sci-fi comedy (of which genre MiB and Galaxy Quest are both marvellous examples). The inventive script is matched by inventive visuals, lots of ‘gee look at that!’ material and the central performances are a solid reprise of their characters’ debuts.
Email this article
MEN IN BLACK II (PG)
CAST: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Rip Torn, Rosario Dawson, Patrick Warburton, Lara Flynn Boyle
PRODUCER: Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes
DIRECTOR: Barry Sonnenfeld
SCRIPT: Robert Gordon, Barry Fanaro (story by Robert Gordon (comic book by Lowell Cunningham)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Greg Gardiner
EDITOR: Richard Pearson, Steven Weisberg
MUSIC: Danny Elfman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bo Welch
RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 4, 2002