A science-fiction action comedy, ‘Men in Black’ follows James Darrell Edwards III, essayed by Will Smith, a police officer who joins a secret organization named “The Men in Black” that polices and monitors extra-terrestrial interactions on Earth. He is partnered with Kevin Brown, played by Tommy Lee Jones, who is a veteran in the business. Together they go on missions to meet and defeat the most ludicrous aliens to save the Earth.
Basing its narrative on the comic book ‘The Men in Black’, written by Lowell Cunningham, the film helped Will Smith catapult into stardom and Tommy Lee Jones redefine himself as he was not known for his comedic performances. Along with the hilarious chemistry of the leads, the humour, musical score and the direction make ‘Men in Black’ a truly enjoyable experience.
For this article, I have taken into account science fiction comedies that are similar to the narrative of ‘Men in Black’. They may not have similar storylines but they are all thematically and stylistically similar to the Barry Sonnenfeld classic. So, without further ado, here is the list of best movies similar to ‘Men in Black’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like ‘Men in Black’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
A Walt Disney Pictures production, ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’ follows Wayne Szalinski, an inventor who accidentally shrinks his and his next door neighbour’s kids to a quarter of an inch with his electromagnetic shrinking machine. To add to the horror, he accidentally throws them out with the trash, where they are forced to use their full potential to survive in the backyard and return home while fending off insects and other obstacles. The film is quite funny and utilizes the shrunken kids to its full comedic effect. The science fiction comedy was a sleeper hit, and grossed a massive $222.7 million against a budget of $18 million, becoming Walt Disney Pictures’ highest grossing film at the time.
9. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
Adapted from English author Douglas Adams’ science fiction comedy series ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, the film is set mere seconds before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, where Arthur Dent, a journeyman, is flounced off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher who is penning a new edition of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. Directed by British filmmaker Garth Jennings and co-written by Karey Kirkpatrick and Adams, this science fiction comedy is a nifty adaptation of the hilarious comedy series. The film stars the likes of Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, along with the iconic voices of Stephen Fry and Alan Rickman, who form the comedic soul of the film.
8. Galaxy Quest (1999)
A parody of the ‘Star Wars’ film series, ‘Glazy Quest’ follows the cast of an out-of-date science fiction television series of the same name, who are visited by aliens who think that ‘Galaxy Quest’ is documentary. This leads to epic circumstances where the two get embroiled into an intergalactic battle. The film is directed by Dean Parisot and co-written by David Howard and Robert Gordon. The narrative is replete with self-referential jokes and hilarity. The film, since its release, has gone on to become a cult classic. It has a rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and an average of 70 out of 100 on Metacritic.
7. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Directed by Stephen Herek and co-written by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ stars Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves as the titular Bill and Ted, who travel through time in an attempt to bring in historical figures for their high school history presentation. When the film was released, many were quite averse to the literary structure of it, with the most criticism being directed to the “inept comedy”. However, through the passage of time, the film went on to receive a more positive reception, with most critics calling it a hilariously innovative film. It was a box office success and has a rating of 78% on Rotten Tomatoes.
6. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has developed a niche for adapting the most obscure superheroes on to the big screen and catapulting it into stardom, and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ was the film that started it. Directed by James Gunn, the superhero film features a group of intergalactic criminals who are forced to work in collusion to stop Ronan the Accuser, an overzealous warrior who wants to destroy and conquer the universe. The tenth film of the MCU, ‘Guardian of the Galaxy’ doubles up as a science fiction comedy which essentially helped the studio carve out the distinctive tone of the comedy which made the latter half of the universe so successful. With Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista playing the live-action characters, and Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper using the vocal talents to comedic effect, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ has become one of the best and funniest MCU films ever made.
5. Spaceballs (1987)
Mel Brooks was one of the first filmmakers to use the art of parody to craft comedies and ‘Spaceballs’ was one of his most brilliant ones. A comic science fiction film, ‘Spaceballs’ tells the story a rogue star pilot and his reliable sidekick who are given the responsibly of rescuing a Princess and saving the galaxy from a ruthless race known as the titular Spaceballs. The narrative of the parody stems from the ‘Star Trek’, ‘Alien’, ‘Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Star Wars’. Although ‘Spaceballs’ was not a critical darling at the time of its release, it has, over the years, gone on to become a cult classic and has been credited to pioneering the genre of parody.
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4. Back to the Future (1985)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis and co-written by Bob Gale and Zemeckis, ‘Back to the Future’ is the story of Marty McFly, essayed by Michael J. Fox, a teenager who accidentally travels back in time to 1955, and meets his future parents but disturbingly becomes his mother’s romantic interest. He now has to take the help of Dr Emmett “Doc” Brown, essayed by Christopher Lloyd, an eccentric scientist, who has invented the DeLorean, a time-travelling vehicle to help Marty restore the original history and return to 1985. Though the film is a science fiction comedy, it is essentially about love, compassion, friendship and family. The highest grossing film of 1985, ‘Back to the Future’ has gone on to become a classic science fiction comedy that has today become part of popular culture. The critical and commercial success also spawned two more sequels — an animated series, comic books and video games, thus forming the successful ‘Back to the Future’ franchise.
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3. Ghostbusters (1984)
A fantasy comedy, ‘Ghostbusters’ follows Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler, three former parapsychology professors who start a business, which is a unique ghost removal service. Directed by Slovakian-Canadian filmmaker Ivan Reitman and co-written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, the film is immensely funny and boasts of being one of the most quoted films of all time. With comedic legends Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis leading the line up as the three protagonists, ‘Ghostbusters’ oozes with hilarity and compassionate camaraderie. Upon its release, the film received immense praise for its humour, performances and writing. The fantasy comedy has gone on to become an all-time classic with American Film Institute inducting the film in their list of “100 Years…100 Laughs” and the United States Library of Congress selecting the film for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2015.
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2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Directed by the enigmatic Edgar Wright, ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’ is an action comedy which follows Michael Cera as the titular Scott Pilgrim, a slacker musician who has to battle the seven evil exes of his new girlfriend Ramona, essayed by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The film was a box office bomb, grossing a meagre $48 million against a budget of 90 million. The major reason for it tanking at the box office was the visual aesthetics and quirky humour. However, it is an underrated gem which oozes of comedic brilliance and artistic genius. The film, over the years, has garnered a strong fan base, thus becoming one of the best-reviewed cult classics.
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1. Being John Malkovich (1999)
There are few filmmakers and writers who have the ability to craft a nifty piece of work built on a borderline absurd premise, and director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman are two of them who possess this ability. A fantasy comedy, ‘Being John Malkovich’ follows a failing puppeteer who discovers a portal into the head of the movie star John Malkovich. The narrative of the film explores the postmodern times and the mind functionality of artists. It is often rated as one of the finest films of the 90s.
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