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Men in Black 2 (2002) – Movie Review

Men in Black 2 movie poster

Written by: Barry Fanaro & Robert Gordon, based on a story by Gordon, which was in turn based on the comic book by Lowell Cunningham
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Lara Flynn Boyle, Rip Torn, Johnny Knoxville

My Advice: Rent it.

It’s been five years since we last saw the intrepid members of the Men in Black. Agent Jay (Smith) has apparently been going through partners like you or I would go through toothbrushes. It’s only when a roaming galactic menace known as Serleena (Boyle) comes back to Earth looking for something called The Light of Zartha which supposedly was sent off-planet twenty-five years earlier, Jay realizes he’s in over his head. Why? Because the only one who knows what happened to this Light is Kay (Jones), his partner who “retired” in the last film. So Jay has to go nab Kay, get him back in the suit, and figure out what’s going on with the Light, because for some reason that’s never really explained, it’s going to destroy the planet at midnight.

[ad#longpost]This film is just a shame. The first film I never found as classic or amusing as anyone else did, I just thought it was a pretty good comedy flick. It just never lived up to the potential of its premise. And after all the maneuvering it took to get this project off the ground, you’d think they could have come up with something better than this. The entire thing feels rushed and thrown together. It’s a few good ideas for scenes with nothing at all holding them together. And there are plot holes you could drive the gigantic worm they call Jeff through. My favorite is this Light thing–which no one ever really elucidates as to why it’s important or why the entire planet of Zartha depends on it–which after twenty-five years all of a sudden is going to go nuclear and blow us all the kingdom come. It’s amazing what a line or two of dialogue will do to smooth out a situation like this, but no one seemed to have bothered to take the little time necessary to fix these holes. Sloppy.

The cast do as well as they can–but the material just isn’t up to par, so almost everyone seems to be phoning it in, with the possible exception of Knoxville, whose two-headed alien stooge is so forgettable I keep having to remind myself he was actually in the film. There is a brief moment shared between Jones and half-baked-love-interest-of-Jay Rosario Dawson (half-baked yes, but not her fault, just bad writing) towards the end that feels pasted in due to the anti-climactic climax going on all around them.

I wish I could provide a litany of all the things that went wrong with this film but unfortunately for those of you who do want to make the trek and see it, I don’t want to spoil what few surprises there are. All I can tell you is that despite what little there is in the way of big-screen-necessary effects, there’s no reason not to wait and catch it from your couch. The box office will be good enough that a MIB3 will be desired by the studio, but let’s hope that some fresh blood is brought in to rescue this poor, pathetic franchise.

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