"SO WE HAD a script, with a really good first act and a fantastic ending, but there were scenes in the middle that needed work," director Barry Sonnenfeld recently told New York's Vulture blog. Despite not having a finished screenplay, Sonnenfeld started shooting Men in Black 3 anyway—explaining why this, the first Men in Black in a decade, and one that's rumored to have cost $375 million, ran into a few tiny little production problems. Normally, this behind-the-scenes stuff wouldn't matter; normally, it's what's onscreen that counts. By the way, here's what's onscreen in Men in Black 3: OH SHIT! WE'RE MAKING THIS? FOR REAL? OKAY THE FUCK OKAY HEY WILL SMITH SHOUT SOMETHING! OH. OH, OH SHIT, SHIT SHIT
The plot would've been a throwaway gag in the first Men in Black: Agent J (Smith) time travels to 1969, teaming up with the younger version of his partner, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones, looking like he's about to die, appears for five minutes before morphing into Josh Brolin, who, to be fair, does one hell of a Tommy Lee Jones). So J and K bicker and bond and fight a biker alien (Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords, squandered) and hang out with a weird alien (Michael Stuhlbarg of Boardwalk Empire and A Serious Man, even more squandered) and zoom around on dorky space motorcycles and punch CG aliens in their stupid CG faces and oh, right! 1969! So: Hippies! Space program! Andy Warhol? Racism!
This summer's already full of failed cash-ins, rehashes, and dead-end franchises, from Battleship to Dark Shadows to John Carter, but Men in Black 3 is the most bland and inept of them yet. It's a movie that has just enough of the original's spark to remind you how unappealing this one is; it's a desperate thing that feels lazy, rushed, and cheap. When people talk shit about blockbusters, Men in Black 3 is the sort of product they're referring to. Which is too bad, because any movie that boasts not one but two Tommy Lee Joneses should've sucked at least a little bit less.