Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Movie #409: Men in Black

Men in Black is sci-fi/comedy flick directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (who also gave us Get Shorty and The Adams Family) and starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent D'Onofrio, Linda Fiorentino, and Rip Torn. It's very much part of Smith's "oh, hell naw" era.

K (Jones) is a Man in Black, a member of a shadowy psuedo-governmental organization that polices alien activity on Earth and has since the 60s. He runs across a New York cop named James Edwards (Smith) and recruits him following an altercation with a physically adept alien. Meanwhile, a giant cockroach-monster skins and impersonate a farmer (D'onofrio) and tools into town to steal an entire galaxy from yet another alien (Mike Nussbaum). In the end, they triumph, with the help of a medical examiner (Fiorentino) that they pick up along the way.

It's a fun movie. Much of the humor is Smith coping with the insanity of his new life and how deadpan Jones is about the whole thing, but it's important to remember the sheer amount of acting talent in this movie. Joke about Smith all you want, but the man has two Oscar noms and he deserved them, and you can see glimmers of that talent here. Likewise, Jones has certainly done his share of shit work (Batman Forever, anyone?) but here you can see him, like, act a little when he tries to cover up how he still feels about his long-lost love. And, of course, D'onofrio is gross and fun as a giant bug in an Edgar-suit.

But you know what I'm gonna say: I wish they'd given Fiorentino more to do. She's fun, she's sexy, and she manages to do indicate a lot with a smile or a turn of the head. I really love that she's sexually aggressive and just a little creepy with Smith, and then she wasn't in the sequel, and that was annoying (because Men in Black II was fucking terrible, though I thought the third one was pretty good).

Anyway, it's a good 90s comedy, and those are kinda thin on the ground.

My Grade: B+
Rewatch value: High

Next up: The Mexican