Friends, fellow film fans, we are gathered here today to mourn the passing of the beginning of the summer movie season. At first glance, it looked like it might be more than just popcorn-chewing special effects, but appearances can be deceiving. Take MIB II, for example. The original MIB film was so stunning, so innovative, so... well... FUN, it was hard to think that any film could top it. Then came the sequel, the traditionally-titled MIB II... and it didn't. Not that it's a bad movie, because it's not. It has just about every element the first film had that made it the breakthrough hit it was. The trouble is... the sense of deja vu experienced when watching this film overshadows the experience. In other words, there is an absolute lack of anything new in this film, and what worked so well the first time just seems... well... gray instead of black.
This film picks up an indeterminate amount of years after the end of the first MIB film. Agent Jay (Will Smith) has had a series of unfulfilling partner-relationships. As the movie opens, Jay and partner Agent Tee (Patrick Warburton) are attempting to take care of a routine matter, which results in Tee being smacked around and Jay getting his latest save. After Tee, then comes Agent F (Frank the Dog). Frank delivers the best lines, the funniest moments, and overshadows everyone he's on screen with. Thankfully for the other stars of the movie, his screen time is somewhat limited, but he's very funny while he's there. (His last 'singing' scene was my biggest laugh, watch for it.) The plot inexorably winds around Serleena (Lara FlynnBoyle) as she lands on earth looking for a cosmic treasure, enlisting the help of alien scumbag Scard & Charlie (Johnny Knoxville). Ultimately, the only thing that can save our poor planet is a memory stored in Kevin Brown's memory. Kevin used to be Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones). The plot then winds its predictable way towards the conclusion, with Agent Zed (Rip Torn) back as the head of MIB, and Rita (Rosario Dawson) as Jay's love interest.
The problem is... as cute as it was in the first time, it's only mildly entertaining and a bit tired now. It's like seeing the same comedian do the same material a second time: It's just not as much of a rush. Was it fun? Yes. Would I see it again? No. I already feel like I've seen the same film twice, so I have no desire to see it for a third time.
Other elements. Ok, ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) does its usual bang-up job of giving the audience some spectacular digital effects. Par for the course. Danny Elfman once again reprises his role in the composer's chair for the music, and it too is, especially for Eflman, nothing extra-ordinary. Barry Sonnenfeld's direction is right on the money, but again...
In the end, this film "feels" like a typical movie sequel. It's fun, yeah, but it's nothing new, nothing truly entertaining, just a few guffaws and the rest is well... a rerun.
I give this film a lackluster B-. It's decent, but nothing to write home about. Maybe in the future, someone will get the idea that the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy is not only bad grammar but an unwise Hollywood philosophy, especially for sequels. Oh, and any movie done by the Farrelly brothers. Definitely old school, and bad old school. Time to move into the new millennium with the rest of the country, movie people. We need more than flashy special effects and boring, worn jokes nowadays. Oh, and... Mr. Lucas? That goes for you too.