Bee Movie

Cast:
Jerry Seinfeld as Barry B. Benson (voice)
Renée Zellweger as Vanessa Bloome (voice)
Matthew Broderick as Adam Flayman (voice)
Patrick Warburton as Ken (voice)
John Goodman as Layton T. Montgomery (voice)
Chris Rock as Mooseblood (voice)
Kathy Bates as Janet Benson (voice)
Barry Levinson as Martin Benson (voice)
Larry King as Bee Larry King (voice)
Ray Liotta as Ray Liotta (voice)
Sting as Sting (voice)
Oprah Winfrey as Judge Bumbleton (voice)
Larry Miller as Buzzwell (voice)
Megan Mullally as Trudy (voice)
Rip Torn as Lou Lo Duca (voice)

Summary:
Despite being yet another animated bug movie and featuring a rather disjointed plot, “Bee Movie” is a film that both adults and children can enjoy thanks in large part to the humor of Jerry Seinfeld.

Story:
Barry B. Benson is a bee living in a hive in Central Park. Unfortunately, he’s rather disillusioned at the prospect of spending the rest of his short life in a single mundane job. Desperate to try something new and exciting, he ventures outside the hive for the first time in his life. Barry discovers a whole new beautiful (and dangerous) world. Barry also happens to make friends with a human named Vanessa Bloome despite a strict rule that bees aren’t supposed to talk to humans.

As Barry continues to explore the outside world with Vanessa, he discovers a terrible secret – humans steal honey from bees and sell it. Outraged and offended, Barry finds a new purpose in life as he sues the major human honey producers. But as Barry looks out for the best interests of his fellow bees, his actions have unintended, disastrous consequences.

“Bee Movie” is rated PG for mild suggestive humor, and a brief depiction of smoking.

What Worked:
“Bee Movie” is a solid family film. I took my three kids to it and they were all entertained. The 2 year old got a little bored, but otherwise we all had fun. And any movie that both adults and kids can enjoy together earns big points in my book.

What really raises “Bee Movie” to the next level is Jerry Seinfeld’s humor. The entire script is filled with little jokes here and there that are pure Seinfeld. Without his touch, this movie would have tanked. He’s got some funny bits with courtroom humor, airplane humor, and of course bee humor. And as strong as Seinfeld is in the film, Renée Zellweger more than holds her own with him as Vanessa Bloome. She has a number of funny lines and the animators really managed to capture some of her mannerisms. While their whole romantic subplot was a bit stupid, they still end up being a great on-screen duo.

One of the surprisingly fun parts of “Bee Movie” is the cameos. Ray Liotta has a brief but hilarious appearance in the courtroom. He obviously is capable of laughing at himself as he comes across as a violent lunatic in the movie. Sting also has some funny moments as well as Larry King.

There are a few fun action scenes as well. A hilarious scene where Barry duels a grocery store worker wielding a thumbtack helps pick up that pace of the story. Another scene where Barry lands on a truck windshield along with Chris Rock’s mosquito also presents a lot of opportunity for jokes.

I kind of wish “Bee Movie” had been in 3-D. As the cameras follow Barry and the bees flying through the sky I couldn’t help but imagine what it would have looked like in a 3-D presentation. Ah, well, maybe some other time.

What Didn’t Work:
I’ve got to say I’m a bit burned out by animated bug movies. Between “A Bug’s Life,” “Antz,” “The Ant Bully,” and the others, the concept has been done to death. Most of them follow the same formula of your hero character who is tired of living the colony life and wants to break out and be his own bug. “Bee Movie” follows this formula exactly and brings little to the table other than Jerry Seinfeld. But like the onslaught of penguin movies, they can sometimes do something new and different. However, that’s not really the case here.

“Bee Movie” is also a bit slow getting going. It was about 45 minutes into the film before I thought the movie really hit its stride. This was further reinforced by my 2 (nearly 3) year old son bailing out of his seat and inspecting the theater floor. If there’s not some sort of bug action happening on the screen, “Bee Movie” tends to get dull….at least until Seinfeld cracks a joke.

The storyline also seemed a bit disjointed at times. The movie goes from a character drama to a spy movie to a courtroom drama to an adventure. The scenes jump around a lot, too. Towards the end it jumps from a courtroom in New York to the Tournament of Roses Parade in California to an airplane and back to New York. It was like Seinfeld and the writers thought of a few funny short scenes for a court case, an airplane, etc and then strung them together to make the “Bee Movie” script.

The Bottom Line:
There haven’t been a lot of good movies that the whole family can enjoy in a while, so “Bee Movie” is a welcome film. It’s not a classic by any means, but it’s still an entertaining movie.

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