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Overall Rating
2.63

Awesome: 2.08%
Worth A Look: 14.58%
Just Average: 31.25%
Pretty Crappy47.92%
Sucks: 4.17%

6 reviews, 12 user ratings


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Bee Movie
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by Erik Childress

"Bee Pretty Good"
4 stars

Of all the creatures out there that the animated world can turn into a talking, wisecracking hero, bees are not at the top of a list I would have made. You see, I hate them. That doesn’t make me special or anything. I guarantee millions of casual nature strollers prefer not being stung to having to pull out the tweezers and those with allergies have an even larger beef. But how many have been attacked by a swarm of hornets bystanding innocently while someone else shook a football out of their nest’s tree? That’s a life spent in fear right there. The outdoors didn’t exactly become my scene and I spent a large part of my days watching television. It doesn’t exactly tie-in directly to Jerry Seinfeld whose show appeared in primetime well into my high school years, but hey, the circle of life isn’t built on simplicity is it? Seinfeld remains in my eyes the greatest television show ever to air. Test me on it someday. It’s been nearly ten years since it ended its run and while consistent reruns on TBS and Fox keep my Seinfeld fix in check, it’s always nice to see something new from its creators. As Larry David has taken the guts of the show to its hilarious extremes in the natural extention of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Jerry Seinfeld has taken the PG-route and come up with a family film that begins warily as a mild chucker and then reveals itself to be an increasingly clever and very funny appreciation of a bee’s existence.

From the film’s opening words, read with the anticipation of a punchline only to get the kind of warm and fuzzy capper that seems at odds with the mantra of “no hugging” that permeated the TV show, Seinfeld fans may be quickly wondering if the comic brought none of that edge with him to the movies. Barry B. Benson (voiced by Jerry Seinfeld) is graduating to the working class amongst his hive. Along with best friend, Adam (Matthew Broderick), he’s about to get a crash course in how the means of honey production operates and what jobs are available to him. The one that attracts the ladies naturally is that occupied by the “pollen jocks,” the large-bodied bees that leave the hive like fighter pilots and collect the necessary nectar amidst the dangers of a slap-happy human world. Brought along as a lark one day by the big boys, Barry relishes the excitement but gets himself caught on a tennis ball and whisked along a wild adventure through New York before saved from certain death by sensitive florist, Vanessa (Renee Zellweger).

Grateful for shielding him from the boots of her resume-obsessed boyfriend, Ken (Patrick Warburton), Barry breaks the #1 bee rule by opening his mouth to thank Vanessa. “Once the initial awkwardness is relieved with a little playful humor,” (like in “The Switch” episode), Barry develops a bit of a crush on the shapely and accepting human and we await the first inference to wanting to pollenate all over Renee Zellweger. Bee Movie up to this point gets by on the occasional light chortle and some really beautiful work on the part of the animators, but is pretty cautious in how far it wants to take its humor relying on a lot of cute puns for the kiddies and little for those above the age of 10. Somewhere around the end of a Barry/Vanessa dream sequence though (which ends with a hilarious bang),the plot takes one turn after another into more interesting territory that allows for some legitimately inspired comic situations.

Bypassing a pair of familiar animated plots (the lost creature in an alien world and his relationship with the humans), Bee Movie continues to misdirect our expectations before seemingly finally settling on the film’s driving force – an attempt by Barry to sue the human race for stealing their honey. In gathering evidence for his case, the busy bee meets a mosquito (Chris Rock) on a road trip who advances the problems of his own species and who winds up in a predicament that will be familiar to anyone who saw one of the brilliant humans-in-costumes trailers that have hyped the film for months. Rock’s brief appearance helps to up the laughter pace which only continues to get stronger through surprise celebrity witnesses during the trial who have very loose ties to the bee world with their own brand of honey and a name change that doesn’t exactly inspire happy feelings towards their kind. Seinfeld occasionally works in one of the casual observations about our own kind that has defined his stand-up. He even wedges in his personal love for Cinnabon, which during an appearance I saw in Vegas he copped to wishing someone would just smash his face directly into one of the pans behind the counter. A little more of that would have been welcome, but when even the puns start to get funny, Bee Movie is clearly on the right track.

Surprisingly enough, the film does sneak upon us the kind of ecological lesson you wouldn’t have found within three galaxies of Seinfeld’s TV show. Arguments may merit that it’s a situation someone in the film (particularly a florist) would have picked up on if Barry comes out victorious. But that appears to be part of the statement how a celebrity-obsessed, litigious, misplaced do-gooder society would miss the obvious implications of bees taking a long vacation. It’s a nice little message for the kids if nothing else. The adults ushering them along will be treated to a lot of laughs as well and based on the slate of family films competing for your attention the next few weeks, Bee Movie is certainly the ticket to be buying. All part of the circle of life with the future looking bleak and pleasant distractions to shield us from it. No hugging becomes a guideline more than a rule if a tree is present. And maybe the next time a bee enters my home, I’ll open up a window instead of rolling up a newspaper. But I will continue to kill every little hornet bastard I see.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15577&reviewer=198
originally posted: 11/02/07 00:00:00
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User Comments

5/15/13 Nico Bauer very good movie 5 stars
6/02/10 User Name Fun and forgettable. 3 stars
10/06/09 Joise Cotton is a goddess Pretty funny, better than I expected. 4 stars
9/08/08 PAUL SHORTT UNEVEN YET BASICALLY ENTERTAINING 3 stars
7/19/08 Shaun Wallner Boring not worth it! 2 stars
4/02/08 David Cohen It's hip, it's cool, it's sassy, too bad it's not funny! 2 stars
3/13/08 Charles Tatum Dull and awfully choppy, despite some funny lines 2 stars
3/01/08 Nanci Torres I only watch half and gave up 2 stars
12/12/07 William Goss Often gorgeous animation with slapdash puns and gags that earn a few chuckles. 3 stars
11/13/07 sir spam-a-lot What's sad is that "Bee Movie TV Juniors" and the original previews were the highlights.... 2 stars
11/06/07 mick my kid was bored shitless, very unsual for this kind of film? 1 stars
11/04/07 Total Crap I don't think so.. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Nov-2007 (PG)
  DVD: 11-Mar-2008

UK
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