Monday, July 15, 2002

Back in Black

So I caught Men In Black 2 on Sunday with Chris at UA Midtown. We had three choices, especially since our original choice, Undercover Brother, was no longer playing: Late Marriage (serious foreign film), The Emperor's New Clothes (historical retake/comedy) and Men In Black 2. Chris wanted to watch a comedy. I wasn't in a 'historical' mood. Thus, the choice was clear.

The film was ephemerally satisfying, in parts. Very few new ideas in the sequel, which means if you were expecting more of the different kind in the sequel, you'd be disappointed. If you just wanted to see more of the regulars, you wouldn't be disappointed. If you wanted more jokes, you'd have to search for them. A lot of the jokes fall flat. The few good ones that survive are the dog jokes with Frank, the office dog in a new temporary role as J's partner (of course, after a point, even the canine humour lacks a-pee-l), Michael Jackson's cameo as himself vying for a position as Agent M (with a rather hilarious, and somewhat topical, reference to Alien Affirmative Action), the little universe K has in locker C18 ("be kind rewind", the national anthem rapidly changing allegiance, the little XXX bar in the back: howlarious), and the in-joke reference to Spielberg. The cheesy B-skiffy video tape is a great device to have. The end credits feature Mr. Smith doing another title song (this time it's The Black Suits Are Comin'). Everything else pretty much falls flat. The steatomammate Lara Flynn Boyle adds nothing as Serlena (her introduction is a mere plug for Victoria's Secret and the jokes are too tired and obvious to raise more than a generous smile). More ad plugs include Sprint PCS (if such a critical operation uses Sprint to stay in touch, I can only fear the worst for the world), Burger King and a duty-free liquor store. Interesting cameos include director Barry Sonnenfeld (the man of the house that K used to live in) and Rick Baker (an MIB immigration agent). The previews were lousy too ...

The best part of the evening at the movies was the little featurette The ChubbsChubbs are Coming that preceded the film. A rollicking take-off on Star Wars and the Gremlins, there's a nice sendoff on Aretha Franklin ('R.E.S.P.E.C.T'). Pity, the main feature didn't live up to this.

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