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Still shot from the movie: Men In Black.

Men In Black

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones play secret agents hired to keep all the "aliens" in the US under observation.

Overall Grade: C
Violence: D+
Sexual Content: B+
Language: C-
Drugs/Alcohol: --
Release Date: 02 Jul 1997
Run Time: 98
MPAA Rating: PG-13

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In-Depth Review

If you've seen Mars Attacks (which also released in 1997), you'll have a good idea of the type of humor that is the backbone of Men In Black. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones play secret agents hired to keep all the "aliens" in the US under observation -- and we aren't talking typical illegal immigrants. Instead, beings from other planets have taken on human forms and live amongst us. The Men in Black guys make sure these visitors follow a strict set of rules.

But then along comes a "bug," a giant cockroach type of monster, who crash-lands on a farm owned by Edgar. In a rather disgusting scene, Edgar's body is inhabited by the alien so he can intermingle with the rest of the humans while he searches for a tiny galaxy that will somehow allow him to take control of Earth. Only the MiB force can stop him.

Plot is an alien concept in this type of movie, which allows Will Smith to be cool and effective while the other performers hover around to feed his wisecracks. Compared to his role in Independence Day, Smith plays a very different space hunter in MiB. And this time his wit and unbelievable abilities add to the spoof, unlike the previously mentioned sci-fi where Smith's performance often bordered on accidental parody.

The heavy publicity given Men In Black, along with Smith's teen magnetism, will attract children of all ages, and that's bad news for parents. Especially for pre-teens, the jokes will not override the many violent and gross scenes, and even with the 13 plus group, parents may be concerned with language. The profanities are limited to the non-sexual level, but they are used extensively. Sexual innuendo is also present in a couple of scenes.

Parodies can be hilarious, but some may find MiB to be simply a loud violent film with no plot. And with the exception of a few odd moments, I fall into that category. Considering the popularity this movie has achieved, viewing this film left me wondering if perhaps I'm one of those aliens they're after...

Video alternatives

This film is the first in a franchise. It is followed by Men in Black 2 (MIB II) and Men in Black (MIB III).

 

Home Video Notes

Home Video Notes: Men in Black

Release Date: 1 May 2012

Men in Black releases on Blu-ray with the following bonus extras:

- Intergalactic Pursuit: The Men In Black Trivia Game

- Ask Frank the Pug!

- Alien Subtitle Track

- Enhanced Telestrator Commentary with Director Barry Sonnefeld and Tommy Lee Jones

- Audio Commentary with Barry Sonnenfeld, Rick Baker, and Industrial Light & Magic Team

- Extended and Alternate Scenes

- Metamorphosis of Men In Black

- Visual Effects Scene Deconstructions

- Character Animation Studies

- Storyboard Comparisons

- Conceptual Art and Storyboard Galleries

- Scene Editing Workshop

- Production Photo Gallery

- “Men In Black” music video starring Will Smith and Mikey

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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