The third time is supposed to be the charm, right? It’s what I’ve been told for a good portion of my life, and only rarely do things not succeed on the third try.
And then there was Men in Black 3.
I’ll admit there were a few laughs, too few and far in between for a movie recommendation. Our buddy cop secret agents, J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) become embroiled in a time-traveling snafu when a locked-up alien skips the lunar jailhouse and tries to erase his captor, Agent K, from existence. There’s hilarity is in the history, in the culture shock of the ’60s, and at Andy Warhol’s wig. And then the jokes stops and there’s plot explanation to sub in for actual dialog.
So what made the original Men in Black work was how Agent J (then a new recruit) fell into the world of black suits and other worldly visitors just as we did: with ’90s attitude and lots of questions. The other part would be the playful dynamic in which the two unlikely partners managed in a Rush Hour/48 Hrs. sort of way. The explain everything angle is old, but I’ll get to that later. The most jarring thing about Men in Black 3 is the lack of J and K chemistry. Tommy Lee Jones clearly does not want to be on the set, so it becomes the Will Smith show quickly. Brolin is okay at best, but he’s hardly given time to be anything more than a more cheerful youthful version of Agent K.
Your enjoyment of the movie may hinge on how grating you find Smith’s Agent J in his late 40s.
This movie felt like exposition central, where everyone had to explain themselves on what they were doing and their position in the universe. I don’t feel like the concept of time traveling should have taken that long to explain. We’ve seen Harry Potter go back in time with a Time Turner, the latest Star Trek movie featured time travel, Back to the Future is nothing but time travel, and Doctor Who jumps through all sorts of time and relative dimensions in a TARDIS, and not to mention H.G. Wells was harping about the idea back in the 19th century. Surely, the audience can follow along, yes? So much of the run time is devoted to serious explaining on technicalities and background of stuff that never showed up in the previous two sequels. Then again, have people even seen those recently?
There’s a good chance kids in the audience grew up without Men in Black cartoons in the Saturday morning line up.
Man, Will Smith didn’t even contribute the credit song for this movie. Pitbull took over those honors with dubious results. At least there’s no nuerotransmitter to erase the campy goodness that once was the original Men in Black.
And I hate to break it to our readers, but the wise-cracking worms are practically nonexistent save for a background comment. Sad alien face.