Review: ‘MIB: International’ is lacking, albeit mildly tasty

By Michael O’Sullivan | Washington Post

Kumail Nanjiani is the best thing about “Men in Black: International.”

That’s saying something, considering that the actor never appears on camera and that the character he lends his expressively plaintive voice to is a CGI alien the size of a gerbil.

The last surviving member of a race that has been hiding out on Earth – in a Marrakesh antiques shop, specifically, in the guise of chess pieces – he is an anonymous cog in a larger (well, not that large actually) machine. “Pawns don’t have names,” he tells agents M and H (Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth), operatives from the Men in Black agency, a global police force that monitors and maintains order on the comings and goings of extraterrestrials.

“Pawny,” they decide to call him – in a telling moment of unimaginativeness that will make you grateful they don’t add the last name “McPawnface.” From that moment forward, Pawny is a source of steady and much-needed comic relief – in an otherwise dutifully thriller-ish plot that sees M and H trying to A) keep a world-destroying weapon out of the hands of evil aliens; B) identify a potential mole inside the MIB organization; and C) kill, capture or avoid assassination by a pair of hit men from another planet.

These killers are played by Larry and Laurent Bourgeois, the break-dancing French siblings known as Les Twins. If not exactly stunt casting, it still feels like pandering; their performance includes a scene set in a disco, where they deliver some of the strikingly original, herky-jerky moves they’re famous for – on dance competition shows, in viral videos and as Beyoncé’s backup dancers.

All this action and adventure is easy on the eyes, and it’s made easier by a narrative that zips and zaps, via high-speed rail – a conveyance that makes Japan’s bullet train seem like Metro during single-tracking – from Paris to New York to London to Naples to the Sahara and the aforementioned Morocco. It’s a scenic, if slightly tedious, travelogue, one that justifies the film’s subtitle while feeling more perfunctory than necessary. As always, the film is populated by a quirky universe of aliens, including a sexy arms dealer with octopus-like limbs (Rebecca Ferguson) and a ferret-sized “living beard” that masquerades as a man’s facial hair.

A world in which humans and aliens live side by side in an uneasy peace is a cute and welcome

Source:: East Bay – Entertainment


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