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By Ron Wells | July 3, 2002

Mmmmm… huh? what?!?! “Men in Black”? Sequel?!? Oooooh, yeah. You know, I remember one other time a big sci-fi fantasy movie from Columbia Pictures lulled me into a peaceful slumber, but I don’t believe it was the original “Men In Black.” What am I thinking of?
Well, the first installment of this would-be mega-franchise wasn’t too bad. That monster hit of 1997, VERY loosely based on the comic book of the same name, told the story of how supercop James Edwards (Will Smith) ended up in the ultra-secret alien policing organization of the title and with by-the-book parter, agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). That film was carried by the script’s sharp sense of satire, an excellent cast, and director Barry Sonnenfeld’s relatively light touch behind the camera.
This time out, nothing quite feels so light and sharp as mostly the same team relates the tale of how Agent K is brought back out of retirement to help stop an alien menace (Lara Flynn Boyle) from wrecking the planet while searching for an item that K had apparently hidden. Unfortunately, for all involved, K’s memory has been erased. Twice. Yes, hilarity ensues, but quite as much as you might be led to expect. Sure, he eventually gets his memory back, and then he gets the rest of his memory back. There are plenty of crazy aliens, and a few jokes at the expense of the occasional celebrity. Too bad none of it was really all that funny or even memorable.
Hey, I’m not saying it’s bad. It’s kind of entertaining, what I can recall of it after two days. It’s, uh, okay. Just okay, though. While only a couple of guys (Robert Gordon and Barry Fanaro) are credited with the script, it usually requires at least six to eek out something this mediocre. Don’t worry about falling asleep at the wheel, there aren’t any sharp edges to hurt yourself on.
Wait a second, I remember now. Can you remember the last time Columbia exerted this much effort toward reuniting the director and cast behind one of their gigantic genre hits; it was for “Ghostbusters II”. Can you remember the plot of that film? Me, neither. After about another week, I won’t be able to recall “Men in Black II,” either. The only thing I can recall from sitting through through the second “Ghostbusters” is that a couple of hours passed, and I then asked myself, “All that effort, all that money, FOR THIS?” The main reason I can remember is that I just asked myself the same question. Now I’m going back to sleep.

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