Monday, July 22, 2019

Men in Black: International

There's a reason why many times in a comedy, the screenplay will be written by multiple writers. It's because writers can bounce jokes off each other and determine what is funny. I'm not saying that a solo writer can't produce a comic screenplay. It's just that comedy is more subjective than drama. What's funny to me, may not be funny to you. Men in Black: International (MiB:I) was written by the writing team of Art Marcum and Matt Holloway. They are not known for comedy as their best screenplay was the excellent Iron Man (2008).

MiB:I is the fourth in the series of Men in Black movies about a secret force that protects the earth and peaceful aliens from other alien threats. It starts out with two flashbacks. One in which T (Liam Neeson) and H (Chris Hemsworth) are in Paris to take on a hostile alien race known as the Hive. After the alien threat is dispatched, the film flashes back twenty years where a young girl named Molly meets an extraterrestrial. The movie flashes forward to see an adult Molly (Tessa Thompson) looking to join the Men in Black. She sneaks in the New York headquarters and impresses O (Emma Thompson) who sends her to London to assist H.

Okay, I'm going to cut to the chase here.  Because the plot can be a tad convoluted.  This movie is not funny.  Jokes don't work.  The aliens are not funny. Let me give you an example.  H has sex with an alien and this could be very funny if they showed some of it. But the filmmakers don't maybe because it would be too controversial.  Think Galaxy Quest.  And I'm pointing my finger at the writers who are not really known for writing comedies.  Yeah, a couple of good jokes in Iron Man work but the guys didn't need to write jokes to keep a comic film humming for two hours.  They could have used a third writer with comedy chops to help.

As for the acting and directing, Liam Neeeson,  the always excellent Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth are all good.  But the movie can't survive on Hemsworth's charm.  It needs better and more jokes. Director F. Gary Gray is competent but he doesn't seem to recognize that this is a comedy.

Men in Black: International is just a time waster and worse, it's not funny.   Shame. Because Hemsworth and Thompson looked like a great duo to lead the franchise.  The grade is C Plus.