Men in Black III is a sequel to the 10-year-old Men in Black II, which came five years after the original Men in Black; if there is anything more symbolic of the lack of originality in Hollywood, please direct me to it. The last time we saw Will Smith on screen, it was in Seven Pounds, and the last time he and Tommy Lee Jones (most recently notable in No Country for Old Men and Captain America: The First Avenger) donned the black suits and shades to partake in wacky antics involving extraterrestrial lifeforms, it was critically panned. The franchise was pronounced dead, but with Smith in need of a hit and Columbia Pictures eager to make easy money, they’ve churned out another Men in Black film that, while much better than its predecessor (and that isn’t saying much), still isn’t worth anyone's time or money.
MIIIB’s (you’re welcome for using that amazing acronym) plot reverts to one of the oldest tricks in the “We’ve run out of ideas” book: time travel. Agent J (Smith) is forced to travel back to 1969 to save Agent K (Smith) from a timeline-altering murder by the gleefully devious villain Boris (Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords). When the film is in the 60s, poking fun at race relations and the counterculture, it's worth watching, especially with Smith’s comedic schtick. It’s also worth it when Josh Brolin (No Country, Milk, True Grit) plays the younger K, mixing a cowboy charm to a spot-on impersonation of Jones.
Aside from these performances, as well as Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man) as a neurotic, anxiety-ridden timebender and a few choice cameos, MIIIB is as dull and dumb as a sequel to the franchise 10 years after the fact would have been. Even though I wasn’t expecting much from it, I was still let down, from the lack of action to the unfunny first act. It goes to show that this old dog must be put down, and that if Will Smith is expecting a comeback, he can do much better.
Here's a look at what's showing in local movie theaters beginning Friday:
The Pirates! Band of Misfits: 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4 p.m. Sunday
The Hunger Games: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 6 p.m. Sunday
One Man, Two Guvnors: 1 p.m. Saturday
Snow White and the Huntsman: 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m., 10 p.m.
Century Larkspur Landing
Men in Black III 3D: 5 p.m., 7:45 p.m., 10:25 p.m.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: 7 p.m., 10 p.m.
Marvel's The Avengers: 10:20 p.m.
Marvel's The Avengers (Real D 3D): 7:15 p.m.
The Dictator: 5:15 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9:50 p.m.