Men in Black II (2002) starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Rip Torn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Tony Shalhoub, Patrick Warburton directed by Barry Sonnenfeld Movie Review

Men in Black II (2002)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in Men in Black II

Alas Smith & Jones

So the first "Men in Black" movie was pretty good with some clever, funny moments and the inspired pairing of Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith delivering dead pan sarcasm pretty much in every scene. In fact making a sequel was a good idea, there was the great pairing and a comedy sci-fi concept which had an audience, just a shame they ended up a sequel which is lacking so many important elements. From the comedy pairing, the special effects, the creativity it has all sort of gone walk abouts as if the writers had become neutralised by one of their own flashy things. It's the only way you can explain why "Men in Black II" ended up being a complete and utter disappointment.

With agent Jay (Will Smith - Ali) now one of the head guys at MIB once again finding himself in the thick of it when an unauthorized space craft landing introduces him to a Kylothian named Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle - Threesome) who masquerades as a sexy lingerie model. With MIB under attack from Serleena, Agent Jay goes in search of Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones - Space Cowboys) who is now living the civilian life of a Postal worker, because he may hold the key to stopping Serleena.

Lara Flynn Boyle as Serleena the Kylothian monster

Now the good is that "Men in Black II" does try to provide some form of continuation from "Men in Black" but as such the first half pretty much suffers because it's just about Agent Jay, his issues with the rest of the agents and of course the latest Alien problem threatening to cause major issues. It doesn't really work because "Men In Black" is 90% about the partnership of Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. Even attempts to build on Agent Jay having become this tough no messing Agent who seems to be not only struggling with his incompetent team but also the loneliness of being a man with no name lacks anything really interesting. As for the whole alien story with a Kylothian monster masquerading as a lingerie model, it ends up becoming inconsequential, although the lovely Lara Flynn Boyle is great to look at as the sexy Serleena.

Thankfully "Men in Black II" does pick up a bit of pace and interest in the second half of the movie as the partnership of Jay and Kay is reformed and we get that witty quick fire banter again. Just a shame that for nearly 60 minutes it suffers as it tries to re-introduce Agent Kay, although having gone off to be a postal worker is a nice amusing touch.

Sadly what really lets things down is the creativity because first time round "Men in Black" was full of creative moments, and inspired comedy. This time, well there are plenty of rehashed old jokes but nothing seems clever even Johnny Knoxville as Scrad, a two headed Alien or Tony Shalhoub returning as Jack Jeebs fails to really impress. Actually there seems to be more emphasis on almost an adult style humour with dubious and obvious references about sex and genitalia replacing good honest fun.

Adding to the misery are the special effects and although the first movie was no "Avatar" this time round the special effects seem to have taken a step back wards. They look cheap, rushed and at times rather tacky. Scenes featuring Serleena and her extending tentacles or what ever they are meant to be look wrong and unrealistic whilst for some reason they thought it would be a good idea to make Frank the dog a more central character leading to much mandible manipulation as we watch this little dog talk in an almost excruciatingly annoying way.

It really is a struggle to find something which I really liked about "Men in Black II" and even a supposed romantic element and a twist which is under developed there is very little which honestly made me smile. The only positive is when Agent Jay and Kay reunite and at that point Will Smith almost comes to life and delivers that wise cracking humour to Tommy Lee Jones dead pan sarcasm which saves it from being completely terrible.

What this all boils down to is that whilst I wanted a "Men in Black II" I just didn't want this one. It was for the most wrong, the storyline wasn't interesting, the effects were a little tacky and the humour has an uneasy feel about it of sexual references often far too obviously and in your face. It has its moments but only when Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith end up working together, otherwise well it was lacking for me.