The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

Men in Black II

New rule. Henceforth, all movie villains must be hot, sexy, scantily-clad women.

It's not like this is a new idea or anything, Hollywood has been churning out almost-naked women in films for years, bless their hearts. But somehow, taking a total babe, dressing her up like a lingerie model and telling us she's a hideous alien from outer space takes the whole eye candy idea to a new level of goodness.

Men in Black II stars everyone who was in the first Men in Black plus Michael Jackson and a hot, sexy, half-naked chick. It's a silly movie. A fun movie. An exciting movie. A short movie.

I'm a fan of the entire Men in Black series, and this sequel is, truthfully, more of the same. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't exactly re-invent the genre.

Did you like Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones trading dry barbs in the first movie? Got it. Did you like Rip Torn and Tony Shalhoub in their respective supporting roles? Got it. Did you like Frank the Dog? Got it, plus. Did you like the worm guys? Got it. Did you like having an alien monster come to Earth to search for something? Got it. Did you like The Noisy Cricket? Got it. Did you like the scene where the car flies upside down and Will Smith falls out of his seat? Got it. Notice a pattern yet?

It's like they got lazy. The weirdest thing for me was David Cross. In Men in Black, David Cross plays the morgue attendant who eventually gets glued to the ceiling when Vincent D'Onofrio kills him. It was a funny bit. So in Men in Black II, David Cross plays a conspiracy nut who runs a video store. Same actor. Same look. Same dry humor. Different character. Excuse me?

Here's the plot of Men in Black II, not that anyone cares. A dangerous, evil monster named Serleena comes to Earth. She transforms herself into a lingerie model and starts hunting for whatever it is she's looking for, The Light of something or other. The Men in Black need to find this Light before she does, but the only person who knows where it is, Tommy Lee Jones, had his memory wiped at the end of the first movie. So they bring him in and go about giving him his memory back.

Along the way they run into alien after alien after alien and do their best to kick butt and take names.

Thing is, for all the joy and rapture a new Men in Black film brings, I left the theater feeling less than complete. The plot is haphazard at best, Serleena basically takes Men in Black Central hostage and stays there, waiting for Tommy and Will. My first thought is: this is the headquarters of the Men in Black! Yet one alien with stretchy fingers and a two-headed sidekick can overrun the entire place and close it down? Not exactly all-powerful.

Also, the film is really, really short. Like shorter than Titan A.E. Not that any of you ever saw Titan A.E. or have any idea how short it is, but trust me, it's short. Men in Black II is over before you know it. Kinda like the California Screamin' roller coaster at Disney's California Adventure, a really great ride that is full of chills and thrills but it ends right when you're starting to appreciate it. You leave the theater wondering if that was really all there was, and you wish there had been more, because you're not quite fully satiated. There is an empty hole in your stomach where another 20 or 30 minutes of Men in Black II would have fit quite nicely.

Everyone involved in the film does a good job. Smith and Jones are exactly what you'd expect. Lara Flynn Boyle is remarkably sexy and evil. Johnny Knoxville is surprisingly not-horrible as Lara Flynn Boyle's two-headed side kick. Patrick Warburton is always a delight, and even Michael Jackson's much-hyped cameo is funny, but that's more because we're laughing at him, not with him. For some unknown reason, they made a go at creating a love interest for Will Smith, and Rosario Dawson does a fine job in the role. It's not her fault that no one came to Men in Black II for the love story.

So to sum up, the guns are back, the aliens are back, the suits are back, and gadgets are back, basically, everything is back and if that's what you want, you won't be disappointed. Me, I guess I was hoping to catch lightning in a bottle a second time. I give Men in Black II 3 1/2 Babylons. But it really should have gotten so much more.

Editor's Note:

Awwww. It was the SMC's most anticipated movie this year. I reminded him to look on the bright side--Blue Crush opens in August.

Men in Black II
Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Lara Flynn Boyle, Rip Torn, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Patrick Warburton, Tony Shalhoub, Frank the Pug and the inevitable promise of Men in Black III.

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