Saturday, May 26, 2012

Men in Black 3 Entertains While Getting Back to the Roots

Men in Black III (3 out of 5 Stars)
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black, RV, Wild Wild West)
Written by Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder)
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, and Emma Thompson

The first Men in Black film was a terrific film about a secret agency that monitors extra terrestrial life on Earth.  The film brought together two opposites Agent Jay played by Will Smith and Agent Kay played by Tommy Lee Jones.  Jones nailed the crotchety older male role, while Smith did a great job as the hot shot agent.  The film received great reviews and became a beloved comedy.  The film also made a lot of money, so the studios made a sequel.  The sequel was poorly constructed and Men in Black II was a massive failure.  With the quality of the second film plummeting, who would have thought the third film could rebound, but it rebounded enough to save this series.

The film starts with a monster referred to as Boris the Animal escaping from a moon base jail.  With his arm missing he threatens to right the wrong of his missing arm and the agent who did this in 1969, Agent Kay.   The film then shows Jay and Kay preparing for the agencies leader Zed's funeral.  As Kay gives the eulogy for Zed its cold nature makes Jay assess the fourteen year partnership he has had with Kay.  With Zed dying O  played by the hilariously brilliant Emma Thompson tells Jay there are things that made Kay who he is today.  Boris the Animal launches the duo into a troubling situation where Jay has to travel back in time and work with a young Kay played by a very talented Josh Brolin.

The film is directed by Barry Sonnenfeld; he directed both the original and the second film, and a wide variety of other projects.  Sonnenfeld's best work includes the first film, and the terrific television series Pushing Daisies; he has also directed some real clunkers like Men in Black II, Wild Wild West, and RV.  Looking at his resume has a real yo-yo effect on my mind.  Combined with quality scripts this man appears to be able to construct entertaining fare.  This sounds simple, but in Hollywood nothing is simple. Etan Cohen who wrote Tropic Thunder should take most of the credit.  the script brought the film back the basics, and focused on the great relationship between Jones and Smith.

The dynamic duo of Jones and Smith are the best selling point to this film, they really know how to play well off one another.  This is one of the best on film pairings in film history for me.  They are the stereotypical odd couple, but they make it work so well.  Throw Josh Brolin in the mix as a young Kay, and he adds even more entertainment.  Together all of these things man an entertaining film that brings this franchise back to its roots.

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