Movie Review by Jack Silbert
Right off the bat, I must give credit to the filmmakers for the bold retro move of just adding a number to the end of the sequel’s title. I’m sure the studio wanted some stupid name like Men in Black: The Redemption or Men in Black: Scoundrel Days. And then when it’s on cable you can never figure out which is the second movie and which is the third, etc. So thank you, Barry Sonnenfeld, you are a man of principle.
|Emma Thompson, Will Smith|
Your kids may not have been with us when the series began, way back in 1997. Do they need to see the previous installments to enjoy part 3? Nah. Black suits. Crazy aliens. You can catch on pretty quickly. But just because you can enjoy something doesn’t mean you necessarily will. As for Men in Black 3, you and the family might have a good time—or might not.
The movie certainly starts out strongly enough. However, early on I wondered if it would be appropriate for most kids: There is a sexy woman, an (albeit comedic) French kiss, and the s-word, and this was feeling like a tough PG-13. But from that point on, most of the movie was pretty tame and safe for youngsters who can laugh at a gross alien.
Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords is very effective as a villainous gross alien. He plays it fairly straight and is kind of terrifying. (You know, terrifying in a fun, MIB sort of way.) The 3D is immediately impressive. Will Smith shows up, he looks great, and he’s in fine wisecracking form.
|Tommy Lee Jones and friend.|
Certainly most children won’t be transfixed by a journey back to 1969. There are some long-haired hippies about, but the movie doesn’t really take advantage of this extreme fish-out-of-water situation. Instead, it’s: Ooh, look kids, we’re in Andy Warhol’s Factory! And hey, there’s Cleon Jones and the Amazin’ Mets! On the bright side, perhaps this could spark some history discussions for the family—even civil rights get a quick, unsatisfactory mention.
|Smith and Jones|
So, a mixed review, but I’m ultimately leaning slightly positive. And why? Well, there’s a scene at Andy Warhol’s Factory in which Josh Brolin is talking with Michael Stuhlbarg, who is wearing a parka and knit cap. Every time the camera turns to Brolin, in the background over his shoulder on the right, you can see my friend Tiffany. She’s an extra wearing a light green dress, her red hair is piled high, and she’s very pretty. I anticipate an Oscar nod.