If you liked MEN IN BLACK, you will love MEN IN BLACK II because, and Im not exaggerating much here, it is EXACTLY THE SAME MOVIE. Its another tale of the super-secret agency whose agents, all male, even the dogs, wear sober black suits and keep the rest of us from finding out that not only have the aliens landed, theyre using Earth as a vacation spot. Theres a villain from beyond the stars threatening to obliterate the earth, a neophyte partner with talent but no savvy taken under the wing of the superstar agent, and those bugs from the first film wisecracking their way around their posh and top-secret condo. The only thing missing is Vincent DOnofrio and I can only think that since Mr. DOnofrio does not like to repeat himself on screen, he turned down whatever it was that was planned for him.
Which isnt to say MIBII is all bad, there are a few laughs, but there are zero surprises. I mean, when Michael Jackson makes a cameo as a man from space, the only surprise would be that he ISNT an extra-terrestrial.
The plot, and it was nice of the producers to provide one, has J, played again with cocky cool by Will Smith, bringing ex-partner and mentor K, (Tommy Lee Jones at his craggy ironic best), back into the alien-busting fold. The latest threat is courtesy of a snaky lady alien played by a painfully anorexic-looking Lara Flynn Boyle, who is looking for a treasure she lost the last time she was passing through the solar system. If she doesnt get it, the Earth goes bye-bye and so does the MIB franchise, so you pretty much know how this will turn out. K was the agent on the case all those years and so, the only one who can save the day. Unfortunately, complications arise when J tries to restore his memory and so, in the grand tradition of such tales, the former student has become the master. A master who is also getting all warm, fuzzy and klutzy over a civilain played by Rosario Dawson, who gets caught up in the interplanetary power play.
The special effects, from a giant subway-eating worm to Lara Flynn Boyle downing a thug that then forms a formidable bulge in her middle, are good, but dont exactly forge into new effects territory. Plus the product placement is not only blatant, its egregious. Still, at 88 minutes, its briskly paced under Barry Sonnefelds direction. Thats a good thing because the high point of the film comes in the first 15 minutes with Patrick Warburton at his Puddy best playing Smiths new partner, a gung-ho dufus given to bursting into tears in diners. I can only hope that MIB III, and you know therell be one, brings him back.