MEN IN BLACK II (Barry Sonnenfeld) Rating: NN
Here's a lesson in lacklustre sequel manufacture. How do you bring back Tommy Lee Jones's character, recapitulate the best gags from the original and provide a love interest who can conveniently disappear at the end of the movie in order to leave Will Smith unencumbered for the next sequel? You suspect that Sonnenfeld and the writers spent a lot of time watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer, season 5, before coming up with this plot. There are certain felicitous moments: the Unsolved Mysteries-style TV show, Lara Flynn Boyle as the intergalactic villain, the rocketing pace of the first hour. But there is also an overreliance on one-off gags from the first picture, like the talking alien dog and the worm-like aliens who used to work in MIB's offices. Smith is forced to work overtime to carry the narrative; Rip Torn doesn't have nearly enough to do, for one thing, and Tommy Lee Jones hits a uniquely surly note that suggests he's not happy to be involved in the project. 85 minutes.