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'Men in Black 3' Movie Review

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating


Josh Brolin and Will Smith in 'Men in Black 3'

Josh Brolin and Will Smith in 'Men in Black 3'

© Columbia Pictures
Let me be frank...I miss Frank. The wise-cracking pug was one of my favorite Men in Black characters and, sadly, his wagging tail's absent from Men in Black 3. Also absent from this third sci-fi action comedy is the general sense of fun that made MIB - the original - such a huge hit. MIB was a goofball buddy comedy with crazy alien creatures and crazy celebrities revealed to be, as suspected, aliens. Men in Black 2 got off track by trying to be more of a sci-fi romantic comedy, but it was held together by the strong chemistry between leads Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith and the increased presence of the pugnacious pug who managed to steal every scene from his two-legged, award-winning co-stars. Men in Black 3, hitting theaters a decade after the release of MIB2, feels a little long in the tooth - and Frank is only seen in photos.
As with most major action releases, Men in Black 3 comes in both the 2D and 3D versions. If you're going to check it out in theaters, save your money and opt for the 2D ticket price. The 3D had potential, with the first 10 or 15 minutes of the film effectively utilizing the format to deliver an interactive experience. However, after showing off a few cool effects, the 3D was pretty much forgotten about for the remainder of the movie and you're left sitting in the audience wondering why you're wearing uncomfortable, decidedly nerdy-looking 3D glasses.

The Story:

As with the first two films of the series, Agents Jay (Smith) and Kay (Jones) are busy wrangling rogue aliens while not talking about things Jay really wants to talk about. Kay is as taciturn as ever, with his lack of facial expressions still driving Jay crazy. But, after years of being partners, Jay finally sees Kay rattled when news hits the agency that Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) has escaped from a maximum security lunar prison (aided by Nicole Scherzinger in a cameo appearance). Kay cut off Boris' arm before sending him to rot in prison, and Boris isn't exactly a happy camper who's been dreaming of ways to thank Kay for altering his body. No, Boris is ready for revenge against not just Agent Kay but the planet Earth in general.
One thing leads to another and Boris and Kay wind up back in time and headed to a reenactment of the showdown that led to Boris being taken away in chains in one reality and Kay being killed in another. Meanwhile, Jay isn't willing to sit by idly and let the Earth be destroyed in 2012. Enlisting the help of the same source who sent Boris back in time, Jay runs into a younger version of Kay (played by Josh Brolin doing a fabulous Jones impersonation) - even though he was supposed to avoid the butterfly effect by staying away from his partner. Together again for the first time, Jay and Kay must get an advanced protector shield put up around the Earth or else those crazy 2012 doomsday predictions will actually come true.

The Bottom Line:

Smith and Jones still have that great buddy chemistry, and the introduction of Brolin as a younger Jones fits smoothly into the mix. In fact, it's Brolin as a young Kay who gives Men in Black 3 its energy. Brolin is spot-on as Jones, right down to the way he side-eyes Smith in the car, and the laughs in MIB3 nearly all come from Brolin's performance (or from Bill Hader as Andy Warhol).

Men in Black 3 isn't a spectacular summer comedy nor is it the worst comedy you'll see this year. The whole production feels a little lazy, which is a true disappointment given the decade they had to come up with something to wow us. Everything from the aliens to the special effects to the simple plot makes it feel as though director Barry Sonnenfeld and company are resting on their Men in Black laurels.


Men in Black 3 was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and brief suggestive content.

Theatrical Release: May 25, 2012

This review is based on a screening provided by the studio. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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