When a writer sits down to create a fictional world and decides to mix genres that seem to be opposite from one another, it requires a certain amount of skill. While being true to each category, there also has to be a way for them to co-mingle successfully.
Men in Black II (2002) is the sequel to Men in Black (1997). Its been four years since Kay (Will Smith) and Jay (Tommy Lee Jones) have been in the same room. Jay has since retired from the job and has erased his memories of his previous work experience. When Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle) and her henchman Scrad (Johnny Knoxville) sets her sights on Earth and MiB, Jay has two seemingly impossible tasks on his hand. He has to save the world (again) and somehow remind Kay of his past.
I remember liking this film. It has the charm and the comic sensibilities of its predecessor while building on the previous narrative. The only issue that I have is that the two female characters are built on stereotypes. Serleena is a temptress whose main weapon is her sexuality. Laura Vasquez (Rosario Dawson) is the princess/love interest who has to be rescued. Unfortunately, this is not the first, nor is this the last story in which women are not just limited in number, but forced into boxes while the men are given wings to figuratively fly.
Over the years, Will Smith is known for playing a variety of roles.
In 1997, he entered the buddy comedy/science fiction genre with Men in Black. Jay (Will Smith), a streetwise New York City police officer is drafted to join the Men In Black, a secret organization whose job is to police the aliens who have landed on Earth. His partner is Kay (Tommy Lee Jones), a veteran of the MIB. When a bug’s space ship crashes and it takes the human form of a farmer to find the galaxy, an energy source that could be dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands. Jay and Kay must find the galaxy and protect it before the bug finds it first.
This movie is just so good. It’s funny, entertaining and very well done.
Seven years later, in 2004, Smith played another police officer. This time, it was in the movie, I Robot. It is the year 2035, human like robots have taken over the menial tasks that humans once did. Del Spooner (Will Smith) is a technophobic police officer who is investigating the murder of a doctor. The accused is the robot that he created.
What I liked about this movie was that it asked questions. We have all become so dependent on technology. What happens when the technology instead of working for us, thinks for itself?
A year after that in 2005, Smith jumped into the rom-com genre with Hitch. Hitch (Will Smith) is a professional coach of sorts. He helps the male schlubs of the world to win over their dream partners. While helping Albert (Kevin James), become the man that Allegra (Amber Valleta) would fall in love with, Hitch also falls in love. Sara (Eva Mendes) is a cynical gossip columnist whose latest subject is Allegra. Sara is hot on the trail of Allegra’s new boyfriend. It won’t be long before she connects the dots that lead back to Hitch.
I like this movie. While it has the predictable tropes of a rom-com, it is different because of protagonist, Hitch. Many rom coms have a female protagonist. Overall, it is an enjoyable film.