MEN IN BLACK II: Nina and I saw MIBII on Friday night. If you’re among the five people in America who haven’t seen it yet, here’s my take: the same formula that made the first MIB work helps this film overcome a certain lack of energy and dissipated plot. Lots of funny lines, genuine chemistry between Tommy Lee Jones and his gruff character and Will Smith and his young hot-shot hipster role, nice good girl/bad girl combination of Rosario Dawson (who’s a serious cutie) and Lara Flynn Boyle, great gadgets, and SFX.
At 88 minutes, the film is ten minutes shorter than the first MIB, perhaps because the ending was altered in light of 9/11 (the WTC was to play a role in MIB II. But like every Hollywood film released after 9/11, it’s gone, as if Winston Smith of 1984’s Ministry of Truth were the number one editor in Hollywood). To make up for the reduced length, there is a cute ten minute or so Pixar-style computer animated trailer at the beginning of the film.
If the first film worked for you, the sequel will probably be just acceptable enough for a fun night at the movies. But you’re not really not missing all that much if you hold out for it on DVD: even with some amazing special effects, it really does play like Men in Black: The TV Movie.