Now Playing Review

MIB 3 Surprisingly Sweet; Man On a Ledge Predictably Dopey

YEP – The last thing I expected from the third Men In Black was to have an emotional connection to one of the franchise good guys.

The story is nothing earth shattering, but the time travel element that takes Will Smith’s “Agent J” back to the newsworthy year of 1969 offers up more than a few juicy moments.

In going back to prevent Jones’ ‘Agent K’ from allowing a criminal to go free, thus preventing him from eventually scheming to shatter the earth, we glimpse Smith’s father in a heroic deed at Cape Canaveral. The scene is handled with a delicate touch, and Smith, proving in films like Pursuit of Happyness, that he can work his way through emotional terrain, is effective in making not only his character human, but the entire premise of the picture more than just another summer blockbuster.

It also delivers us to a younger Tommy Lee Jones, played by the always entertaining, versatile Josh Brolin.

Brolin and Smith are excellent together. Every time Brolin refers to him as ‘Stretch’ or ‘Hondo,’ it makes you smile. Not only is he perfectly cast as the younger ‘Agent K,’ but Brolin’s comedic timing and effortless swagger give the film a comfortable feel.

Man On a Ledge  NOPE – It’s one of those films that probably worked relatively well on paper. A revenge caper flick with the built-in tension of having the protagonist standing on the ledge of a Manhattan high-rise while his brother and his incredibly hot Latin girlfriend swindle the villain of his gigantic diamond to prove our hero’s innocence.

But the devil’s in the details…and casting is everything. Sam Worthington isn’t awful, but he also doesn’t bring that much to the table here. Elizabeth Banks was outstanding in The Next Three Days, but here the script repeatedly fails her, making her offer up dopey explanations for the events we are watching.

But, believe it or not, those were the two roles that were well cast in this picture.

A the risk of being harsh, the two Eds are so brutal. Ed Harris should be cast as the new Iron Man villain, ‘Captain Grimace of the Skeleton Brigade.’ And Ed Burns should realize once and for all that on-screen charisma escaped him. Burns makes Keanu Reeves look like Charlie Chaplin. Ed Burns is to dramatic acting as Jason Statham is to compelling action. What once passed for Boston street charm in the Sundance darling, overrated The Brothers McMullen, is now just flat-out unwatchable monotone balderdash. And don’t get me started on Harris. He’s never been known for his subtlety, but the Medicaid version of this Oscar nominated actor is pretty creepy. He’s like a stick figure with a bulbous shriveling head, complete with a half-dozen varieties of scowls, smirks, and fun house frowns.

One thought on “MIB 3 Surprisingly Sweet; Man On a Ledge Predictably Dopey

  1. Pingback: “Man on a Ledge” « F*ck You

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