Men in Black

Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Rating: B

Humans might not be ready to hear that aliens live among them, but when they come across those “accidental” encounters leave it to the Men in Black to erase that memory.

The Men in Black is a secret organization that is kind of like the welcome center for extra terrestrials moving to Earth. They also take care of the aliens that have come to cause trouble. Agent J (Smith) was a former officer for the NYPD and was recruited by the MIB after chasing down (unknowingly) an alien. Agent K (Jones) takes him through an intense two-day training when they hunt down a violent alien.

After training with the Men in Black at Universal Studio’s MIB ride and recently hearing that a reboot could be in the works, I have been itching to watch the movies again. The last time I watched Men in Black was well over a decade ago, so I was pleasantly surprised during the re-watch to not have remembered a thing. First of all, the alien who took the skin of a human farmer’s body (he was named Edgar, by the way) was way creepier than I imagined. Second, Men in Black had quite the innuendo going on in dialogue.

Despite being shocked that 5-or-6-year-old me watched Men in Black after hearing some of the innuendos cleverly crafted into the dialogue, I couldn’t judge my parent’s for letting me watch it so young when it most likely went over my head. A flirty mortician tries to get Agent J’s attention that something isn’t right by suggesting she has something to show him, and points below her waist. Agent J laughs it off while she nods her head and repeats, “You really need to see this.” It turns out it was Edgar hiding underneath a trolley, holding her hostage. Humor is woven throughout each scene and fit’s Will Smith’s character perfectly. He only just discovered that “we are not alone” in the universe and encounters hundreds of different kind of aliens in one day.

Another aspect that passed me by as a kid was how Edgar, the movie’s villain, could easily have fit in a horror movie. An alien has disguised himself using human skin and it doesn’t fit him well. Skin hangs off its bones and by the end of the movie really doesn’t hold on well. It looks like a perfect character for a horror movie where the villain is wearing someone else’s skin or like something out of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Meanwhile, I forgot how silly and entertaining Men in Black was. It was this movie that takes place in three days and by the end feels like “That’s it?” I didn’t want it to end. It’s definitely a classic and one of those movies you might feel like watching after letting it collect dust on your shelf for a few years. A reboot won’t do it justice, unless it goes in a different direction and gets more serious. The next two movies carry the same fun, innocent comedy and it won’t be the same without Will Smith.


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