May 25th, 2012 | by AP KRYZA Movies & Television |

Pre-Willennium Tension: Men In Black III Reviewed

mib3New boss, same as old boss: Josh Brolin as Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith as Will Smith. - Columbia Pictures

We don't know why there's a third Men in Black, but we reviewed it anyway, even though it screened after WW press deadlines.


WW Critics Grade: C.

Nobody ever gave a shit about the Men in Black.

Not the movie—in fact, the original is pretty great, a lean, awesomely ridiculous creature feature in the vein of Ghostbusters. The characters were wonderfully broad, with Will Smith playing the scrappy wiseass to Tommy Lee Jones' sourpuss while they turned aliens into goop. That's it. We weren't really asked to care about them as people. And it was perfect.

A decade after the wack sequel, the prospect of resurrecting the original's scattershot whimsy is a welcome idea, especially given the setup, which involves Smith going back in time to prevent a gnarly alien biker (a snarling Jemaine Clement) from assassinating Jones' younger self (Josh Brolin, doing a frighteningly accurate and hysterical impression of his No Country For Old Men co-star), all along encountering everything from racist cops to Apollo 11 and Warhol. But hey, what about Smith's daddy issues? Or Jones' relationship with Agent O (Emma Thompson has fun as the older version; Alice Eve looks lost)? Or, you know, the father/son relationship forged between Smith and Jones?

An even better question: Who gives a fuck about any of that? Director Barry Sonnenfeld does, and he lets it detract from the promising premise, wedging in forced emotion and pushing awesome Rick Baker-designed alien action to the background. There are a handful of great gags—the time travel sequence is particularly inspired in its cartoonish inventiveness, and the clunkiness of the 1960s gadgetry gets some giggles—but even more wasted opportunities, including a squandered Clement playing the heavy and, you know, a considerable deficit in aliens, which is puzzling, given the reported $375 million budget. It's a short affair at under 90 minutes, but by the time the theme song (which Big Willie Style farmed out to Pitbull) rolls, your memories of what came before are all but neuralized. For the first time in the series, it's impossible to give a shit about the movie, let alone Will Smith's abandonment issues.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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