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Men In Black II (2002)
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

review by Gary Couzens

Five years on from the original Men In Black, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is 'deneuralised'. He is working for the postal service with no memory of ever ridding the Earth of the scum of the universe. Meanwhile Agent J (Will Smith) continues to fight the fight, but none of his partners quite match up to his old mentor. Sereena (Lara Flynn Boyle), a plant-like alien which for reasons best known to the writers manifests itself as a lingerie model in a very low-cut black dress, is on Earth searching for the Light of Zartha. Only K knows where it is, so he has to be brought out of retirement and 'reneuralised'...
   The first Men In Black made almost $600 million worldwide back in 1997. Five years seems a long time after such a big hit, but at great expense here it is. Smith and Sonnenfeld are certainly in need of a hit, after 1999's dire Wild Wild West. Smith solo had the critical accliam but low box office of Ali; Sonnenfeld the black comedy Big Trouble, which was one of the films shelved in the aftermath of 11 September. So here it is, and the results are middling. There are a number of decent laughs and some imaginative set pieces, but the film labours too long about bringing K back into the plot (he only appears 25 minutes into a film which runs about 80, plus end credits) and by then it's run out of steam and ideas. Lara Flynn Boyle, a late replacement for Famke Janssen, simply isn't bitchy and villainous enough for her role. Ultimately this is a movie that's stolen for most of its first third by Frank the talking dog.
   Men In Black II is a sequel that didn't need to be made. But as it was, it's undemanding with a commendably short running time.
Men In Black II
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