Friday 1 June 2012

Review: Men in Black 3

Year: 2012
Director: Barry Sonnigfield
Screenplay: Etan Cohen
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Emma Thompson, Michael Stuhlbarg

Synopsis is here

For a film that went into fillming without a finished script, MIB3 almost manages to hang together. It seems it does this due to a lot of heart, a time travel plot that freshens things up a bit despite feel like a futrarama episode, a relatively decent villain, and some killer Tommy Lee Jones mimicry from Jeff Brolin. Is it wrong that if there has to be another entry (if the moneys good, they'll probably all be there) I'd like to see this partnership team up again and jump through a different decade a la quantum leap? I certainly can see that more than anything continuing with Jones.

Jones, a man I once lambasted or being on rails in William Friedkin's The Hunted is far worse here. That film, released almost ten years ago (much like the last MIB film) had a monosyllabic Tommy Lee slowly tracking down Benico Del Toro. But I can possibly forgive the film for what it was trying to do. Here Jones (like the most of the films comedy and a sleepwalking Smith) is firing on no cylinders.

Jones' older K, takes up most of the first act and oddly unlike the first film, none of his time together with Smith's J is worthwhile. He doesn't seem interested, but then neither does the script which is uneven and practically devoid of jokes. The film only gets going when Smith enters the sixties. A scene in Warhol's Factory raises an eyebrow, while the small moment involving Smith's Jay experiencing racism in old timey New York is handled well enough to raise a smile. But a smile is all. There's an edge that's missing from MIB3, that many could well remember from The Addams Family.

There is, however, a certain amount of pluck within the film. It lies in the character of Griffin. While the character is a complete basil exposition, Griffin shines brighter than he should, due to an energetic child-like display from A serious man's Michael Stuhlbarg.  A well cast and nearly wasted Emma Thompson, does well with the antics and gives us slightly tender moment that hints at a sub-plot should have been handled better. Josh Brolin also gives a climatic scene way more heft than expected, all of which reminds us of some of the smaller aspects which made the first film (and not the awful second) appealing. It also helps that the meat of the clue seeking aspect of the plot within the second act does enough to grab some attention.

The main problem is that for a comedy adventure, it is sub-par. The action may not be much to tattle about, but it just about does the job. With this said, I could have done with some yuks. But then again, maybe if they finished the script before filming, they would have had time to work on the jokes.