Film adaptations of comics and comedy sci-fi movies are notorious for their legion of examples of poor entertainment. Yet "Men in Black" straddles both thorny mantles and rides onto the screen, awash with special effects and gloriously enjoyable humour.
As with most blockbusters, this film is crafted upon a feature-reduced plot 'lite'. Will Smith plays a cop whose attempts to chase a seemingly superhuman criminal impresses Tommy Lee Jones who turns out to be the mysterious agent 'K'. He invites Smith to join his intergalactic customs and immigration service as agent 'J' and together they fight the alien scum of the universe.
But built upon this flimsy premise are a lot of refreshingly simple visual gags and the dream pairing of Smith and Jones, who look like they're having a lot of fun. That enjoyment is very infectious and the scenes where Smith is initially joining the service are hilarious. The key theme there, as throughout the film, is the unbelievable amount of craziness that surrounds our two heroes who remain deliriously dead pan throughout. The effect works very well and while the aliens are funny and the effects are clever, the reactions or often lack of them from 'K' and 'J' provide the most laughs.
That is not to say that the effects aren't impressive because they are. And while every big movie has its gasp-inducing moments, this film concentrates on inventive and quirky. But while everything comes together so well, Sonnenfeld is to be congratulated for the snappy 94 minute running time which is short in blockbuster terms and leaves you wanting more. Thank God the sequel is in production.