Men in Black II

Is anyone else kinda excited for this one?

I just loved the first film. It had a great wit about it, moved along at a brisk clip, and it understood the idea that if you’re going to have a rediculous movie, you’ve got to play it straight and just let the whole rediculousness of it be the joke.

I just recently watched it again (picked up the DVD) and in many ways it’s better than I remember. Lots of clever little things you miss the first time around.

Good script, too. Lots of punchy one-liners and great delivery. Like when Kay (Jones) first meets Edwards (Smith) in the debriefing room at the police station early in the movie…

K: Did say anything next? (talking about the alien Edwards ran down that night)
Edwards: Yeah, he said the world was going to end.
K: (totally straight) Did he say when?

I enjoyed the first one. If Tommy Lee Jones wasn’t in this next one, I’d most likely avoid it.

One of my favorite lines from the first:

Lady: Is this a joke?

K: No, Ma’am. We at the FBI do not have a sense of humor that we are aware of.

I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen the first one all the way through, from start to finish. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen – and the previews for the sequel make it look great – but for some reason, I’ve never just watched it. I plan to do that before seeing the sequel. But I do plan to see the sequel.

I saw a screening of MIB2 last week and can’t recommend it. Not enough Patrick Warburton, too many recycled stale jokes, and they’re definitely aiming at a fairly young (well, juvenile at any rate) target audience. However, I will say this about it: it’s short.


Did you like the original, Tom? How would you compare them? (Ya know, in case I get around to seeing it.)

I thought the original was a sort of enjoyable funhouse ride. Certainly one of Barry Sonnenfeld’s better movies, which isn’t necessarily saying much. But Men in Black II just seemed lazy and aimed at kids.


Considering I loved the WB animated series, I’ll take that as a recommendation to go see MIB 2.


I think it looks wretched, like Barry Sonnenfeld’s last major project, Wild Wild West. But I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original either – I thought it was decent, short and forgettable (I’m not sure I can remember any 3 scenes).

Tony Shalhoub was great in the first one. His scenes were too brief though. Tom, is there more Shalhoub to go around this time?

(Long, that cartoon is pretty slick. My 10 year old cousin loves it too.)

Very little Shalhoub and most of it is hidden behind goofy prosthetic teeth and contact lenses.


But the real question: How much David Cross?

Didn’t Barry Sonnenfeld direct Addams Family Values? That was a good one.

“Look, he has his grandfather’s eyes!”
“Get them out of his mouth, dear.”

That was a good one. Mostly due to Joan Cusack

Ah, I should have guessed Ron Dulin for one of the few people on the planet who would recognize David Cross! I’ve never seen whatever TV show he comes from, though, so I only know who he is through talk show appearances and cameos.

He’s in one scene in MIB2 and it’s good, although there was a punchline at the end of the scene that I still don’t understand.


Cross’ mother calls to him from offscreen. He says something like, ‘Coming, mother’, picks up a shovel, and walks off screen. The audience laughed out loud. Huh?

The only thing I can figure is that the implication is that he was going to kill his mother with a shovel. That’s funny? Someone – wumpus maybe – see the movie and explain that gag to me.


Cross has a terrific cameo in “Waiting for Guffman” as a guy explaining the crop circles. He’s from Mr. Show and so is Bob Odekirk. I’ve never seen Mr. Show (two seasons just came out on DVD though) but my way late discovery of Tenacious D has me wanting to buy it. I first remember seeing Cross on “Just Shoot Me”, a terrible sit-com. He played a mentally disabled brother who, it turns out, is faking it because being taken care of fits his slacker lifestyle. You had to see it, but that revelation was played extremely well.

Mr. Show could very well be the funniest television show since Monty Python, especially if you aren’t easily offended. The DVD might not be the best introduction, though, because the show didn’t get really great until seasons 3 and 4. Hopefully, those will be released soon.

And they’ll be on tour!

Umm, is someone named Bub editing his posts? I was going to correct what he wrote about Bob Oedikirk being invovled in Wet Hot American Summer (he wasn’t) and now it’s not there. Interesting.


I saw a free sneak preview of MIB II on Sunday, and IMO, and from the audience reaction as well, it is implied that Cross is going to kill his mother with the shovel, move out of the house, and go to Cambodia with the girl. If anything, it’s a bit of a twisted interpretation of Agent J’s post-neuralizer instructions to Cross and the girl.

Overall, I found the movie enjoyable in a “light” sort of way - sure the jokes skew towards a younger audience than the first MIB, and there’s nothing really memorable about the movie, but there are a few goofy smiles produced when watching it. Definitely worth my free admission, and maybe a matinee showing, but not really worth $8.50.

And yes, the movie should have used Patrick Warburton more. He’s just a goofy, funny actor to watch (although IMO he wrongly portrayed The Tick as “dumb as a rock” instead of “obliviously earnerst”).

  • Balut

Edelstein hates it:

‘The mystery, kiddies, is what has happened to Sonnenfeld, a man of delicious wit and sophistication who has progressively unlearned everything he once knew about making movies. In Men in Black II, the former cinematographer (he got his start with Joel and Ethan Coen) puts everyone in the center of the frame and uses fish-eye lenses to shove them in our faces. The jokes go thunk!… thunk!…thunk! as if fired from a tennis-ball machine: You don’t want to laugh, you want to duck. And all the actors—save the computer-generated ones—are poorly lighted. They look as over-made-up as cadavers.’

Is A.O. Scott of the NY Times lurking on this board, or is Tom Chick reviewing movies for the Times under a pseudonym? If you boil Scott’s reivew of MIB II in today’s Times down to a single sentence, you get Tom’s “But Men in Black II just seemed lazy and aimed at kids.”

Haven’t seen MIB2 yet, though I’m not in a big hurry too. Strangely enough, I adored the first MIB, which was loaded with tons of wit and irony), but I get the feeling the sequel is nowhere near as intelligent, if I can use that term.

Also, someone get Laura Flynn Boyle a Big Mac, quck! Ugh! It’s bad enough that they don’t have Linda Fiorentino (grrrrrrrrr…) in the sequel. Flynn Boyle is scary (way too thin, and she dates Jack Nicholson)… Fiorentino is a babe.