Movie Review: Good Performances in Men in Black 3 Can’t Make Up for Its Inertia

Clever people have worked hard (albeit for more money than most of us will see in a lifetime) to make Men in Black III look as if it has a reason for existing. Given that Tommy Lee Jones’s deadpan Agent K has shriveled to the point where he’s now merely prunish, it was a fine idea to invent a plot in which Will Smith’s Agent J hurtles back in time to save the life of his mentor, and a better one to cast another actor. As the younger K, Josh Brolin wears a semi-squashed nose (it is age-appropriately less spread), slits his eyes, and replicates the music in Jones’s voice — that weary, quarter-tone-up-the-scale Southern sigh that makes good comebacks bluesy.

They’ve cast a still-untapped major talent — Jemaine Clement, of Flight of the Conchords — as the snarling extraterrestrial villain Boris "the Animal" and concocted a fascinating character in Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg), a disheveled entity hidden under multiple layers of clothes and driven mad by his ability (more curse than gift) to see multiple futures at once. Such agreeable personalities as Emma Thompson (as the new boss), the dishy Brit Alice Eve (as the younger Thompson), and Bill Hader (as Andy Warhol!) flit in and out. The finished product is in a different league than the whompingly terrible Men in Black II — it hits its marks. But it’s not inventive enough to overcome the overarching inertia, the palpable absence of passion. Read More...


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