STARRING: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith,
Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D'Onofrio, Rip Torn, Tony Shalhoub, Siobhan
Fallon Beatrice, Mike Nussbaum, Richard Hamilton, Keith Campbell
1997, 98 Minutes, Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Black has a lot in common with the Addams Family movies - also directed by
Barry Sonnenfeld. Both take a wild premise and builds its story around it, doggedly
pursuing that premise to its often (il)logical conclusion.
The premise behind the universe
of the Men In Black, is that there is in fact a secret government organization
consisting of agents dressed in black that goes around covering up the truth behind UFO
landings and sightings. Everything you read ("Alien Stole My Husband's Face") in
those supermarket tabloids is actually true. Whereas the marketing behind the film may
have led audiences to expect another Independence Day, Men
In Black is nothing of the sort: it doesn't take its own premise seriously for a
second. Besides, Men In Black is far better than Independence Day for that
very same reason. Its tongue is tucked firmly in its own cheek . . .
But while Men In
Black is a reasonably intelligent and fun comedy, it never reaches the dizzying comic
heights of, let's say, Addams Family Values. Neither is it as subversive. Rather
think of it as Ghostbusters meet the X-Files. It is a good comedy,
but never becomes a great comedy.
However, it is easy to see that why it is doing
so well. After all, its competition, the other summer blockbusters this year consists of
the likes of Speed 2, The Lost World and Batman & Robin - films that seriously insult the intelligence
of its audiences.
Followed by a tired sequel
Men in Black II in 2002 that made one appreciate just
how good this movie is.
Top 100 Sci-Fi
of all time