On our vacation we watched a fair number of movies at night on actual TV, not something we’d normally do what with commercials, clumsy editing and the like, but doing weird things is what vacations are all about, baby.
So anyway, we watched Men in Black and our almost 4-year-old was fascinated by the aliens, especially those that appeared normal only to reveal their true selves at dramatic moments – relating to a small child’s feelings of not REALLY knowing what’s going on in the world yet, I imagine. She also thought the bug’s spaceship’s interference with the baseball game at the end of the movie to be uproarious to the point of self-soiling – I haven’t figured that one out yet.
Since we hadn’t seen Men In Black II yet, I picked up the DVD when we got back home, and we have already watched it three times in four days. I wasn’t expecting that much because the reviews were so mediocre, but I actually think it’s better than the first one.
The plot isn’t much: the MIB have to save the earth from destruction once again, this time at the hands of a cheerfully sinister Lara Flynn Boyle, a multi-tentacled creature who assumes the form of an underwear model in a serious pushup bra upon her return to earth.
But the plot isn’t the point: the creatures are endlessly inventive (I especially love the zealous little furballs in the Grand Central Station locker, and the hedonistic poltroon worms), the gags are sharp, and the characters are surprisingly well developed: Will Smith conveys the profound loneliness and existential burden of anonymously saving the earth on a daily basis, and Tommy Lee Jones (who reappears halfway through the film after five years “on the outside” as postmaster in a small New England town – Smith: “What’s it like not doing this everyday?” Jones: “It’s nice, you get to sleep in on the weekends, watch the Weather Channel.”) is at his relaxed best as a man who can’t remember why he stares longingly at the stars at night and who feels strangely at home in the post office (most post office employees are aliens). Rosario Dawson is sparkling and sweet as the unwitting alien princess with whom Smith becomes smitten.
I’m not sure if MIB2 did well enough for the producers to generate a Number III, but Lily and I will jump on it if they do.