Men In Black II

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By Mark Ramsey | 2002/07/05

Imagine if Neuralizers really existed…

Ben Affleck could forget about Phantoms. Anne Heche could forget about “Celestia.” The human race could forget about Carrot-top. Hollywood could forget about Mike Ovitz – whoops, too late for that one.

Men in Black II opens with elderly Biography host Peter Graves, and never has a last name seemed so prophetic. Whether pushing out dialogue or pushing up daisies, Peter’s up to the task. Who needs a dressing room when you have a perfectly good pine box?

It has been five years since the original Men in Black blew onto the scene, and much has changed. Tommy Lee Jones now works in the Post Office. There, “everyone is an alien,” we’re told, including the folks who will no longer be delivering mail to Columbia Pictures. There we also learn that while foul weather cannot stop mail delivery, gray shorts and thigh-high socks can halt machismo dead in its tracks.

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In my advance screening, the movie was preceded by what seemed like a half-hour infomercial for Sprint. And the audience loved it the way the “Gay Mafia” loves Mike Ovitz.

“Gay Mafia”? Asked to comment on their organization being outed by Ovitz, a “Gay Mafia” spokesman exclaimed: “Be-yatch!!”

Hey Sprint, way to create warm fuzzies! If I want to pay to watch someone’s advertising I’ll pledge to Public TV!

Not coincidentally, front-and-center in the MiB headquarters is – you guessed it – a Sprint store! And a Burger King, too! Who knew the same employees possessing Top Secret security clearance need signs reminding them to wash their hands? Surprise, surprise. It turns out that the “Crossain’wich,” like all food containing apostrophes, is of extra-terrestrial origin!

So Will Smith de-neuralizes Tommy Lee and our dynamic duo returns to ridding the world of interstellar scum.

Speaking of interstellar scum, Johnny Knoxville, late of MTV’s idiotic stunt showcase Jackass, is often shoulder-to-shoulder with scum, and here he’s shoulder-to-shoulder with a second head. It juts from a stalk like an overgrown dandelion. This way, Johnny can give himself mouth-to-mouth or, presumably, mouth-to-whatever-he-wants.

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From a gaggle of serpents emerges alien queen Lara Flynn Boyle. Lara was born to play evil, albeit evil’s most excruciatingly thin variety. When she eats a guy her belly balloons to a zillion times normal proportions in what can only be considered Lara’s worst nightmare come true.

I don’t know, there’s something troubling about Lara: A desperate hey-look-at-me neediness that may be an actor’s favorite accessory, but it’s more attractive adorning the psyche than hanging from the sleeve. If it’s love you want, Lara, get a dog.

In real life, Lara has been with a Big Dog. She’s linked with on-again, off-again beau Jack Nicholson. Why zero in on the much older Jack? Answers Lara, “Because Methuselah can’t get a good table at Mr. Chow.”

Lara is searching for “the Light” – specifically, the Lighter the better. Drop another ounce, Lara, and you’ll have flies orbiting around your head.

Truth be told, it’s not “the Light” Lara wants but “the Limelight.” Why does her therapy come at our expense? Given a choice between 88 minutes lounging on a bed of nails or 88 minutes with Lara Flynn Boyle, I’d take the wounds over the boil.

Critics are dissing MiBII for lacking the originality of the first installment. Come on! It’s a sequel, for Chrissake. Familiarity, not novelty, is its reason-to-be. Well, familiarity and vast quantities of prospective cash.

I like this movie for two good reasons: Like the first MiB, it’s clever and it’s funny. And if you think that’s not much to ask, just spend two hours with Mr. Deeds.


Photos Copyright ©2002 Columbia Pictures

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