DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

 
MEN IN BLACK 3 (director: Barry Sonnenfeld; screenwriters: Etan Cohen/based on the Malibu comic by Lowell Cunningham; cinematographer: Bill Pope; editor: Don Zimmerman; music: Danny Elfman; cast: Will Smith (Agent J), Tommy Lee Jones (Agent K), Josh Brolin (Young Agent K), Jemaine Clement (Boris the Animal), Michael Stuhlbarg (Griffin), Alice Eve (Young Agent O), Bill Hader (Andy Warhol), David Rasche (Agent X), Emma Thompson (Agent O), Nicole Scherzinger (Boris’s Girlfriend), Michael Chernus (Jeffrey); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Walter F. Parkes/Laurie MacDonald; Columbia Pictures (in 3-D); 2012)

"Nothing more than nonsensical escapist entertainment."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz 

Nothing more than nonsensical escapist entertainment. The unexceptional thriller flies by as a passable slickly done alien summer flick, which is the third installment in the successful commercial franchise that kicked-off in 1997. Former cinematographer, director Barry Sonnenfeld ("RV"/"Get Shorty"/"Wild Wild West"), on the decline in recent years, helmer of all three MIB films, makes use of a timely time-travel plot to keep the aging Tommy Lee Jones with a reduced part, as he's replaced by the engaging Josh Brolin who plays him as a young secret-agent in 1969 when he was less grumpy. Brolin is terrific, getting both Jones' Texas accent and deadpan humor just right. The franchise has always relied on the chemistry between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones to make it more than just a special effects pic, and Brolin keeps things moving in the right direction.

It's adapted from Malibu comic-books by Lowell Cunningham and the screenplay is by Etan Cohen, and is a follow-up to the critically disappointing 2002 MIB 2.

Agent J (Will Smith) is forced to return in time to 1969 to eliminate Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), a vicious biker serial killer, in order save the life of his secret agent partner, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), who would be dead if he didn't return and, also, the world. The need for this occurs when Boris's lady friend (Nicole Scherzinger) visits him in his high-security moon-based prison and helps him escape after forty years of a chained incarceration and enough time to ponder how Agent K shot off his left arm at Cape Canaveral in 1969 and how to get even. When Agent J realizes Boris has returned to 1969, he uses the same techie source to time-travel there from the top of the Chrysler Building and hook up with the 29-year-old Agent K (Josh Brolin). The agents track Boris on July 15th to Coney Island, a bowling Alley and The Factory hang-out in the Village of pop artist Andy Warhol (Bill Hader). On the next day, they catch up with the Boglodite alien Boris at the moon launch and prevent him from destroying the world and Agent K. Agent J also learns a dark secret about his past.

Michael Stuhlbarg plays a goofy talkative time-warping alien visionary, Michael Chernus plays a nerdy techie guy who engineers the time-travel for Boris and Agent J, and Emma Thompson plays the frosty secret agency head who has a past history with Agent K.

Meanwhile Andy Warhol reveals himself to be an alien, though it might have been more shocking if he was thought of as human. There are also many aliens around who look and act grotesque, and are around to creep you out. The film's comic take on the Sixties never materialized, as its broad humor and physical jokes didn't do the trick. Let's hope there are no more installments, as I think this one is good enough to close out the series without shame and I don't think there's more to see in this series that has merit.

REVIEWED ON 5/29/2012       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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