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movies: Comic Alienation

Smith, Jones and Sonnenfeld serve up a second helping of sci-fi silliness with "Men In Black 2.

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Adding to the Abbot & Costello-type fun of "MIIB" is the expanded role that's been created for that instant laugh-getter from the original, Frank, the tough-talking, cigar-chomping pug.

Picking up where the original left off, "MIIB" brings the uninitiated up to speed with a three-minute, supercheesy TV spoof called "Mysteries Unsolved." Complete with flying saucers suspended on fishing line, the spot tells us all about how Jones' agent, Kay, was "neuralized" and that he's now a mild-mannered mail carrier. Trust me, the mere sight of ever-gruff Jones in postal-worker shorts earns one of the movie's biggest laughs.

While Kay languishes in his semilobotomized state, Smith's Agent Jay has become the hot new operative in his elite unit. Not easily pleased, he's got something of a reputation as the agent most likely to "neuralize" any fellow agent he feels can't keep up. Consequently, Agent Jay soon finds himself working alone a great deal.

But then an uppity alien decides Earth is prime real estate and Jay finds he needs Kay. The alien with world domination on the brain is Kay's old nemesis, Serleena. An intergalactic blob of snaky parts when in its natural state, Serleena morphs into the very comely shape of Lara Flynn Boyle when engaged in rampant evildoing. Since only Kay knows where he hid the object Serleena needs, Jay locates his former partner and reinstates his neural capacities.

Without further ado, Jay and Kay once again don their alien-hunting garb and set out to save the world. As our dynamic duo search for clues amidst the ever-mounting clutter of creatures, the body count grows proportionately. Rick Baker and his talented artists and puppeteers have a ball with these creatures who never come close to looking remotely real. But hey, that's part of the fun of "MIIB." It doesn't take itself seriously, and it doesn't want us too either.

"Men In Black 2" won't earn anyone involved any serious acting honors, but it will win plenty of laughs from audiences. This bit of summer alienation is a no-brainer. Sit back, relax and let the incongruous, oddball fun of Smith and Jones invade your world. S ***

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