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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Good triumphs over evil, and teamwork is championed, but violence is often used to achieve victory. Suggests that MIB agents must deny their emotional connections in order to work there, but personal connections help save the day.
Positive Role Models
The heroes are flawless -- good, brave, highly intelligent, loyal, and strong. Lots of both ethnic and "interplanetary" diversity. Few women appear: A verbally abused wife and a sexy doctor are the only featured females.
Violence & Scariness
All cartoon, all the time. Nothing is meant to be taken seriously, but rather to shock and awe the viewer with comic horror and laughter. Heads roll (literally), and there are explosions, crashes, stabbings, shootings, futuristic weapons. The "ewww" factor is high, as insects with massive tentacles capture humans; slimy creatures erupt into blue goo; a giant bug swallows one of the leads and spits him up later; a woman gives birth to a squid; a vacuum-hose is forced down a man's throat; bizarre-looking humans morph into all manner of even more bizarre creatures.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some mild innuendo and flirting between one of the heroes and the very attractive (and sexy) female coroner.
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Frequent swearing and mild profanity: "goddamn," "s--t," "ass," "bastard," hell," "butt," "pissed off." "D--k" and "pr--k" are used as insults.
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Products & Purchases
Marlboro cigarettes, Gold's Gym, Bloomingdale's, Ford.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A running joke shows a species of small, slimy, highly literate insects as heavy smokers.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that comic mayhem and gross-out creatures from other planets define Men in Black. Scary creatures and life-threatening situations are frequent. The film, however, is as clever as it is exaggerated; some of the most destructive violence is implied, happening just off-camera. Still, young or sensitive kids who can't readily distinguish fantasy from reality may be disturbed by the barrage of exploding insects, grotesque morphing from human to alien life form, and cartoon violence (characters blow up, are vaporized, stabbed, shot with ray guns, and more). There's plenty of swearing ("damn," "goddamn," "bastard," "hell," "s--t") and a few insults, including "d--k" and "pr--k"). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Part comedy, part science-fiction parody, and part action film, the movie just keeps throwing elements into the pot. What's so original about Men in Black is its unpredictable tone. Teens will love the combination of irreverent humor, great chase sequences, and gross-out special effects.
Many kids particularly enjoy the over-the-top alien bad guys as they saunter around the countryside wreaking mayhem. But they'll save their heartiest laughs for Smith and his boyish charm. Of course, Smith's flippancy wouldn't play without Jones' earnest straight-man act. The movie is packed with fun moments: alien eyelids blinking sideways (you've got to see it), a talking pug, and supermarket tabloids proven correct. Everything you've ever read in the Star about aliens is true!
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.