Men In Black

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -1 1/2

In this Ghostbusters-meets-Dragnet sci-fi comedy, the MEN IN BLACK (MIB) are Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, and their job is to keep us humans blissfully unaware of the fact that aliens in great number inhabit our planet. Unfortunately, one particularly nasty species, called bugs, have sent an assassin to earth to steal a small crystal ball from another alien of a kinder, gentler race. These bugs scavenge the universe, feeding on the flesh of other species. And the crystal ball contains a whole universe which would feed the bug's family, which numbers in the millions. Meanwhile, the humans remain ignorant of the extraterrestrial visitors because the aliens wear human disguises. And even when a human sees one, the Men in Black use a flashy-thingy to erase their memory. Unfortunately for the MIB, the kind and gentle aliens have decided to hold the humans responsible for the theft of their crystal ball, and will blow up earth if it is not returned. The MIB must find the bug, confiscate the crystal ball, and return it in just a matter of hours. The intended teenage and adult audience will jump at the Spielbergish aliens, and laugh with Jones and Smith who create an odd-couple type of chemistry. MIB is sure to be a boxoffice smash.

Having said that, MEN IN BLACK is a tragedy which is becoming much too common these days. The first words in the film are profanity, and it hardly gets better as numerous obscenities follow in rapid succession. The tragedy is that this otherwise decent film is marred by foul language, although there is some moderate violence and scary aliens. When the bug takes over a man's body, he is disfigured and becomes more grotesque as the movie progresses. Also, the bug kills an innocent exterminator with roach poison. But the violence is perpetrated by the bad guy and isn't glorified or gratuitous. One scene contains mild sexual humor. But if MIB were edited for language alone, it would be a movie we could endorse and families would enjoy. So add it to the list of action comedies turned tragedy. But unlike a Romeo & Juliet-style tragedy, it's not what goes in the mouth which defiles, but what comes out.

Preview Reviewer: Jason Shepherd
Columbia Pictures, 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (15) times - Mild 14, Moderate 1

Obscene Language: Many (20) times - (no f-words, s-word 11, other 9)

Profanity: Few (4) times - Regular 4 (G 3, Swear to G)

Violence: Many times - Moderate (bug disfigures man's body, and kills innocent exterminator, many chase scenes with fighting and shooting)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Once (man thinks woman is making a sexual advance)

Drugs: None


Running Time: 93 minutes
Intended Audience: 10 and older

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