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Third time not the charm for MIB3

By Sister Helena Burns FSP | Contributor
Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sequels are hard. “Men in Black 3” is no exception. After an attention-grabbing, keeping-in-the-MIB-mode (and a once-only ultra-risqué scene) opening, “MIB3” strives in a ho-hum way to maintain the quirky vibe and “odd couple” relationship between Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (a wan-looking Tommy Lee Jones).

Each actor does their best with mediocre, drawn-out, contrivedly intricate situations and dialogue. The beginning of the film goes on and on with a one-note joke about Agent K’s sour countenance and disposition.

The plot? Agent J must go back in time (to the 1969 moon launch) to save Agent K so that he can save the world. Along the way, Agent J learns a few secrets of the past. (Therefore, most of the movie is without Tommy Lee Jones. Josh Brolin is fantastic playing the younger Agent K.)

The villain is “Boris” (not “Boris the Animal”) — from an almost-extinct race of aliens — who is pretty ticked about Agent K having blown his arm off. He’s determined to go back to the past and retrieve his arm.

A tedious but sweet alien named “Griffin” helps our heroes with his clairvoyance and ability to see all future possibilities.

The premise is still fun: The world isn’t what you think it is — there are undercover good guys keeping the world going, saving us from danger — including Andy Warhol (a truly funny gag). There are lots of squishy, gooey, gross, evil life forms to be subdued. But sentient beings (albeit CGI) are also treated rather brutally — even a “human” head is used as a bowling ball.

“MIB3” is colorful and filled with special effects and goofy and exotic aliens, but the film doesn’t move. Even though we are told how urgent everything is, it doesn’t translate into heart-pumping, mind-tickling action. Much of the clever, interspecies shoot ‘em up gyrations take place in a Chinese restaurant, but it seems like the movie’s budget was primarily expended here (and in Act 3 at Cape Canaveral) and the rest of the film simply strolls along.

As much as we love Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, “MIB3” is only mildly funny, mildly amusing, mildly interesting. Even with the bright addition of Emma Thompson as “O” — J’s and K’s British boss — and a truly surprise ending, nothing serves to light the story or screen on fire.

In my humble opinion, I would say that “MIB3” is just not worth the price of admission or your precious time.