“Men in Black 3″
By MICHAEL WALTERS
At its best, “Men in Black” was an agreeable little piece of popcorn pleasure, with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones battling alien invaders with a wit from its own special corner of the galaxy.
But a stiff breeze could blow these movies into the next solar system. I enjoyed the first one, but skipped the second. And I haven’t exactly been clamoring to know what Agent J and Agent K have been up to in the decade since we saw them last.
If you remember, the Men in Black are part of a secret government agency keeping track of alien life forms living here on earth. They have expensive space guns, cars with hyperdrive, and plenty of fodder to chase after thanks to the limitless bank accounts of the special effects department.
In “MiB3,” the plot involves an intergalactic biker psycho alien serial killer (Jermaine Clement) who had his arm shot off by Agent K (Jones) 40 years ago. He escapes from a maximum security prison on the moon and goes back in time to kill Jones’ Agent K and change the course of history. So Agent J (Smith) jumps back in time too to save his partner and save the world.
Will Smith needs a partner for the “Men in Black” movies to work. The first one worked because of the chemistry Smith developed with a crotchety, stone-faced Tommy Lee Jones. Despite what the posters imply for “Men in Black 3,” Tommy Lee Jones is barely here. He pops in for about 20 minutes at the beginning, and a quick 5 minute coda at the end. In the meantime you have Josh Brolin doing his best Tommy Lee Jones impression as the young Agent K – and surprisingly enough, that’ll do. They’re also joined by an alien sidekick this time named Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg) who can see the limitless possibilities of the future and holds the key to saving the earth.
The film was plagued by production delays and script problems aplenty, but manages to be remarkably light on its feet- or as least as light as any $250 Million special effects extravaganza can be. It expends so much energy as it tries to entertain, but only comes up with smiles in the process.
But at least this inconsequential trifle is pleasing even if it is a bit like one of its fast food tie-ins- which goes down easy but is hard to remember much about immediately afterwards. That’s still more than I can say for “Battleship.”