Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return as the odd couple of Agent J and Agent K, respectively, who work as “Men in Black,” a sort of intergalactic police department that monitors extraterrestrial life here on Earth. The film follows the standard MIB plot of saving the world from aliens, but this time with the added twist of time travel, as J is beamed back to the ’60s to stop K from being murdered by a megalomaniacal, revenge-bent being (Jemaine Clement). The time travel angle works more as a gimmick than an actual plot device, creating a handful of culture shock and fish-out-of-water moments and little else. The retro look is welcome and leads to at least one pseudo-inspired scene involving Bill Hader as Andy Warhol, but there’s no real point to it. All I can figure is that the very tired-looking Jones has a smart agent who managed to finagle a way for him to sit out most of this silliness. In his stead is Josh Brolin as the young K of the past, who steals the movie with a spot-on impersonation of Jones. The film revolves around K’s character, promising to enlighten anyone who’s been sitting around for a decade-and-a-half wondering why he’s so grumpy. The basic formula simply involves lots of weird aliens (a mixed bag that oscillates between impressive make-up effects and cheap CGI), some comedy, and a smidgen of action. I can’t imagine a more loyal sequel to a movie than this one, but that’s part of the problem — there’s a dated feel to all of it.
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer: Etan Cohen and Lowell Cunningham
Producer: Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg and Emma Thompson