Little did we know, but aliens have been living among us for decades disguised as humans (mainly in Manhattan apparently, but that’s no big surprise). Hidden in a complex in New York’s Battery Tunnel are the halls of immigration which monitor the comings and goings of these strange creatures from other worlds, while it is the job of a secret government agency known as the Men in Black (MIBs) to keep the human population unaware of their existence (they have a special zapper which erases the memory of people who’ve had alien encounters), and to police any law-breaking mean green mothers from outer space while they’re on Earth.
One of these black-suited, Ray-Ban™-wearing MIBs is K (Jones), who’s on the lookout for a new partner to help him catch an extremely ugly extra-terrestrial named Edgar (Vincent D’Onofrio) who’s illegally landed on the planet. The man he chooses is a smart-talking street cop (Smith), who, once recruited, must give up his old identity (he’s rechristened ‘J’) and have his fingerprints and all details of his former existence erased forever.
Scintillating special effects, sharp one-liners and hilarious aliens abound as J and K set about their mission, which has something to do with preventing Edgar from threatening life on earth as we know it. There’s not a huge amount of story to speak of, but this is one of the few movies in which it doesn’t matter, as too much plot would detract from Jones (who knew he could be so great at comedy?) and Smith’s on-the-money performances and Barry (The Addams Family) Sonnenfeld’s cool, slick, fun direction.
Daft and fast, this film (based on the Marvel Comic) may offend die-hard alien conspiracy theorists who think the subject should be treated seriously and reverently, but it is a truly hilarious sci-fi treat for everyone else. (Very young viewers may find Edgar the alien a bit nasty, though.)
Is Men In Black suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Children over the age of 9 shouldn’t find anything too scary here, although younger viewers may find Edgar the alien frightening. It is quite gross, though, so younger viewers may find scenes such as the one in which K is swallowed by an alien a little stomach-churning!