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Men in Black Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    USA Today Susan Wloszczyna

    The snappy sci-fi hoot Men in a kind of "Independence Day" for smart people.

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  • 58

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The aliens aren't particularly scary or funny, and so the joke of watching Smith and Jones crack wise in their faces wears thin.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The movie that "Mars Attacks!" wanted to be, but wasn't. This is a snappy, clever, often-funny motion picture that provides the perfect blend of science fiction-style action with comic dialogue.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    When the plot finally does click in, it slows down the trajectory a little, but not fatally.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Gene Siskel

    A smart, funny and hip adventure film in a summer of car wrecks and explosions. [4 July 1997]

  • See all Men in Black reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 12+

Lots of fun, but too scary for some kids.

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").

  • Families can talk about Men in Black's over-the-top weapons and violence. Does any of it seem real? Why or why not?
  • Families can also discuss aliens. Do you think that there are other intelligent creatures out there?
  • Can you see why Men in Black spawned the sequels Men in Black II and Men in Black III? Would you like the series to continue?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Good triumphs over evil. Comically engenders a belief that if Earth were invaded by alien life forms, the situation would be controllable.

  • rolemodels true1

    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.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    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 false0

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

  • language false2

    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 false0

    Consumerism: Marlboro cigarettes, Gold's Gym, Bloomingdale's, Ford.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A running joke shows a species of small, slimy, highly literate insects as heavy smokers.