WHY WE CARE


YOUR STORIES


SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

PLUGGED IN RATING

    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

Approximately 1,500 aliens secretly share our planet. They have, in various ways, assumed human form. Most reside peacefully on New York's Manhattan island, but rebels, rogues and ramblers are kept in check by a covert government agency uniquely privy to alien activity. It's called the Men in Black.

Building on this premise, the sci-fi buddy-cop action comedy Men in Blackbarrels along with the intergalactic scope of Star Wars, the devilish wit of Gremlins and the explosive—often slimy—action of Ghostbusters. And were it not for numerous profanities and a few violent moments, it would be a teen-friendly romp.

A savvy MiB veteran (Tommy Lee Jones) introduces the organization's newest recruit (Will Smith) to earth's confidential subculture of incognito E.T.s. Aliens masquerade as cab drivers, pawn shop owners, jewelers and assorted blue-collar citizens. Others assimilate into the media, politics, public education and entertainment ("Elvis is not dead," Jones reports, "he just went home"). The audience share's Smith's sense of amazement and discovery as he processes this surreal diversity which, by comparison, makes the actual streets of midtown Manhattan seem bland and homogenous.

As the plot develops, that wonder gives way to urgency. One extreme foreigner, an enormous bug, dons human skin in a diabolical scheme to steal a marble-sized galaxy and have earth destroyed as part of an interstellar conflict. When the creature's plans are uncovered, it's up to MiB to avert global disaster . . . discreetly.

Men in Black has a winning sense of humor, though its clever dialogue is punctured by offensive language, including an exchange in which sexual innuendos fly between Smith and a female coroner. Even so, the film doesn't include any sex or nudity. As for violence, watching Jones blast aliens into pools of slime isn't as disturbing as the evil bug's casual extermination of human characters. A nasty farmer is sucked out of his skin (implied). A pest controller is killed with his own gear. Men are stabbed through the neck with sharp appendages. Though frequent injections of comedy keep the tone from getting too dark, the objectionable elements make a significant impression.

In a movie season dominated by lackluster sequels and R-rated actioners, director Barry Sonnenfeld has put an enjoyably original concept on the big screen. And young people are flocking to it. Men in Black earned more than $50 million opening weekend. For many families, however, the film's profanity and violence will present a close encounter of the unacceptable kind.

Advertisement

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

PG-13

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D'Onofrio, Rip Torn

Director

Barry Sonnenfeld ( Men in Black 3RVMen in Black IIBig TroubleWild Wild West)

Distributor

Columbia TriStar

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Smithouser

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!