Men in Black (1997)

The de facto best of the June and early-July action comedies, MEN 
IN BLACK has everything that you could want in yet another $100M 
adaptation of a comic-book:  a wise-cracking lead (Will Smith), his 
crusty partner (Tommy Lee Jones, all deadpan), a bugged-out villain 
(Vincent D'Onofrio, with a hefty assist from make-up artist Rick 
Baker), a pop-reference friendly premise (GHOSTBUSTERS meets "The 
X-Files" meets "Dragnet" meets THE BLUES BROTHERS), cool sets and 
cooler gadgets (designed by Bo Welch), good music (by Danny Elf-
man), great locations (in and around New York City), and a director 
(Barry Sonnenfield, of GET SHORTY and ADDAMS FAMILY fame) who hap-
pens to have the most macabre sense of humor this side of Tim Bur-
ton.  And all of it rendered in such a disarmingly unpretentious 
and almost... throwaway fashion, that you can't *help* but like it.  
By the second hour, however, the seams begin to show.  There's not 
nearly enough plot or character development to offset the sight 
gags or special effects, both of which are *also* in short supply.  
MEN IN BLACK holds back on everything and the result is a cycle as 
vicious as Mike Tyson's appetite for flesh.  There isn't enough 
story to keep the characters interesting when the gags go flat, nor 
are there enough gags to keep the characters interesting when the 
*story* goes flat.  Maybe the sequel will be a bit better.  (Rated 
"PG-13"/95 min.)

Grade: B+

Copyright 1997 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: July 6, 1997

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