Men in Black

Movie review by
Randy White, Common Sense Media
Men in Black Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Lots of fun, but too scary for some kids.
  • PG-13
  • 1997
  • 113 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 96 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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

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.

 

Sex

Some mild innuendo and flirting between one of the heroes and the very attractive (and sexy) female coroner.

 

Language

Frequent swearing and mild profanity: "goddamn," "s--t," "ass," "bastard," hell," "butt," "pissed off."  "D--k" and "pr--k" are used as insults.

Consumerism

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.

 

What 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"). 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBuffy121 June 25, 2019

Confusing story, weak plot

movie was very confusing because it started out with the characters instantly and didn't give you any information on the Stars are the main characters. The... Continue reading
Adult Written bycarmenm2 April 18, 2015

Can be entertaining for younger kids too

From 8 year old: Men in Black is funny and entertaining . The aliens are a little bit gross but still fun to watch. The characters are cool. If you can hand... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old March 16, 2015

Pretty scary at the beginning but then less

Saw it when I was 6 and some scenes were scarier than others but it's a great movie.
Kid, 10 years old October 4, 2012

Really cool movie, consumerism, scariness, violence and language advisory.

This, is, my first review ever (at least on here). My younger sister watched this, but she had to cover her eyes on one bit. Expect lots of cartoon violence, sc... Continue reading

What's the story?

The central premise of MEN IN BLACK is that aliens have been living among us for years, monitored and controlled by a secret government agency that must keep the human population unaware. New recruit Agent J (Will Smith) joins up and learns the ropes from veteran Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), just in time to save the world from a brand-new threat.

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!

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