Men in Black II [2002]

More remake than sequel, Men in Black II safely repeats everything that made Men in Black the blockbuster hit of 1997. That's fine if you loved the original's fresh humor, weird aliens, and loopy ingenuity, but as sequels go, it's pure déjà vu. Makeup wizard Rick Baker is the only MIB alumnus who's trying anything new, while director Barry Sonnenfeld and costars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (as alien-fighting agents Jay and Kay, respectively) are on autopilot with an uninspired screenplay. The quest of a multitentacled alien--on Earth in the form of Lara Flynn Boyle--for the light of Zartha requires Jay to deneuralize Kay, whose restored memory contains the key to saving the planet. The tissue-thin premise allows all varieties of special effects--mostly familiar, with some oddly hilarious new stuff tossed in for good measure. Certainly enjoyable as a popcorn distraction, but the MIB magic has worn a bit thin. --Jeff Shannon

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