Men in Black: International
Audiences in search of the numerous perks that, for the most part, make the Men in Black films a joy to watch will find mere traces of these assets in Men in Black: International.
One of the year’s least funniest films, the latest head-scratcher in the uneven career of F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton; The Fate of the Furious) packs a total of two good jokes — one about Donald Glover (that most viewers are likely to miss) and another on The Notebook (that was likely improvised).
Minus this crucial comedic backbone, the slick weaponry and alien designs all but lose their appeal, though the sparsity of the latter makes it a non-factor regardless of the writing quality. Possibly scripted by a bot, yet credited to the team of Matt Holloway and Art Marcum (Iron Man; Transformers: The Last Knight), the plot nonetheless builds some intrigue regarding the identity of a mole within MiB, but naturally opts for the lamest possible solution.
Men in Black: International’s most egregious failure, however, is the thorough waste of its talented cast. Underwritten bit parts for Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson hurt, but the filmmakers’ inability to wring laughs out of a tiny, sarcastic creature voiced by Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) is especially frustrating.
Still, none of these whiffs compare to Gray’s bumbling use of leads Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, a duo with proven chemistry (Thor: Ragnarok; Avengers: Endgame) who here may as well have filmed their scenes separately and let the effects crew digitally paint them together.
Grade: D-minus. Rated PG-13. Now playing at AMC Classic, Biltmore Grande, and Carolina Cinemark
(Photo: Columbia Pictures)