The Men in Black protect against all sorts of universal threats in the original trilogy. In the fourth film/reboot (whatever you want to call it), they face off against something that plagues some of the worst movies imaginable: bad writing.
Not even Chris Hemsworth or Tessa Thompson can save the MIB world from that, turning in odd performances that look as if they are cringing at the very words they are speaking – a behind the scenes story stating the duo hired dialogue writers to help with the awful script only confirms my thoughts.
“Men in Black: International” is one of the worst viewing experiences I have ever had. Granted, there might be worse films I have watched (the inexplicably exclamation pointed “Mother!” stands as the lowlight) but this MIB film positively sucks.
I had no expectation for “Mother!” or the Madea films when I went to see them, but Men in Black – despite the disappointing returns in the Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones sequels – at least had a solid universe in which to make an average film.
Somehow, even with the star power of Hemsworth and Thompson, this movie fails miserably. I don’t count Liam Neeson any more since he continues to do “Taken” films on trains, snowplows or whatever his agent tells him next.
Here is a part of the synopsis in case anyone here is a masochist. So Molly (Thompson) is a little girl who is interested in space. One night, an alien shows up at her place and her parents get neuralyzed by the MIB, who then leave. Wait, what? Why would the MIB come out here to get an alien and then just neuralyze some people and leave? Just so Molly could have a goodbye moment with the alien so it would pay off later? And why did the MIB just assume Molly was asleep like her parents said she was?
Do me a favor, don’t think about the plot holes in this film. They will give you a migraine. Older Molly ends up working at a call center, despite being qualified for the FBI and CIA (don’t ask) and somehow hacks an MIB satellite to find out where they will be next.
She eventually finds the headquarters and after a brief interrogation – where Thompson has one of the more cringeworthy moments in the film where she attempts to flirt with Emma Thompson’s character for some reason – and becomes a Man in Black. Yes, they point out she is a woman, in fact this point is made several times. There is a fine line between social satire and whatever the hell “MIB: International” does.
Molly is sent to London as a probationary agent and immediately is smitten with Henry (Hemsworth) and the two go on a mission that night. Here is where the actual plot begins, an alien they were supposed to protect is killed by these two twin dancers (yes, I said dancers) and the alien gives Molly a weapon because he is afraid to trust anyone in the MIB.
There is a taste of the plot, it doesn’t get any better after that. You might be thinking, ‘Wait, Kumail Nanjiani is in this, surely when he shows up the movie gets better.” You would be more wrong than whoever told Kevin Costner that “Waterworld” would be a hit.
Nanjiani’s character – this gnome like creature who is given the name of Pawny – isn’t really explained. He is shown earlier when the dancers ask his species of other gnome creatures if they can kill the alien they later kill. The gnome queen says no and everyone except Pawny is killed. What was the importance of the gnome creatures? Who knows, I know the writers surely didn’t.
Now you know Pawny’s illustrious backstory. Also, he is the most annoying character since Jar Jar Binks. Hattie from the Madea movies might be worse, but I hated her with every core of my being. I like Nanjiani in other films outside of this garbage. Everytime his character says a stupid line or tries to come off as cute so the sorority girl sitting behind me can giggle, I wanted to throw something at the screen (not that it mattered anyway as the screen was wrinkled and dirty for this showing, the amount of care MIB: International needs).
The finale of this movie will try to play it off a suspense, but you will know the “twist” 30 minutes in. In fact, the writers didn’t even care as they made the big motivational line at the end be “The universe wants you to be in the right place at the right time” or some other garbage that clearly makes zero sense for this movie.
The tone is all wrong, the dialogue is atrocious, the acting is lazy (looking at you Hemsworth) and overall, this comedy is unfunny. I laughed once, which is more than I can say for “Holmes and Watson,” but that laugh was at a gimme joke about Ariana Grande being an alien and I only saw half of her anyway because the screen was stretched.
Do not see this movie.
Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action, some language and suggestive material.
My score: 2/100
Jordan Bishop is a writer for the Stillwater News Press and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.