Men in Black II

Sure, there’s a Roman numeral appended to this movie, and we all know what that means. It means someone decided to eke some more cash from the first movie in a series. Which is not in itself such a nasty, horrible thing, but all to often sequels are awash in dreckery, hodge-podge, and undying crapitude.

The original MIB starred Will Smith as Agent Jay and Tommy Lee Jones as Agent Kay, part of a superdupersecret organization that monitored the activities of aliens on Planet Earth. At the end of the first movie, Kay neuralizes himself, erasing all memory of his MIB adventures, choosing instead to retire from active duty and leaving Jay to handle those mean ol’ aliens all on his own.

As MIB II begins, Kay’s now a postmaster. Yep, you read that right, a postmaster. In a small town. Wny, he’s about as removed from alien adventurin’ as one could get. Meanwhile, Jay is BAOC (big agent on campus) in the land of MIB, answering directly to Zed (Rip Torn).

Which is all fine and dandy till some oversexed strumpet (Lara Flynn Boyle) from outta space lands on Earth (okay, so she’s not really female or human, but rather takes the guise of a model in a victoria’s Secret catalog) to find some special light that was supposedly left there back in the day. If she/it finds the light, the planet is doomed. So she takes MIB headquarters hostage. I mean, after all, who wouldn’t? It seems like the right thing to do.

Jay’s the only agent left running loose, coincidentally, but it’s Kay who holds the right information in his now-addled brain, info that could Save the World from Destruction. Trouble is, Kay can’t remember a darn thing, being neuralized and all. He doesn’t even remember being an agent.

Can Jay deneuralize Kay? Can they both save the world? Will Lara Flynn Boyle ham it up as the evil temptress, or will she try to save her career and turn in some decent work? YES! YES! NO!

This is truly a popcorn movie, although I forgot to eat popcorn while watching it. It’s the kind of movie where you do other things while watching the DVD. You look up every now and then, see alien guts being spilled or hear witty repartee, and then go back to what you’re doing. It’s not a thinking man’s movie; it’s more of a slouching man’s movie.

And that’s just fine. That’s what the original movie was, after all. Smith and Jones are excellent and appealing; they have great chemistry onscreen. Think Gibson and Glover in Lethal Weapon, or Dreyfuss and Estevez in Stakeout. Boyle’s a good foil, but she’s mostly ineffectual. After all, it’s the boys’ show.

***

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