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bee movie
Bee Movie
Directed By: Steve Hickner and Simon J. Smith
Cast: Jerry Seinfeld, Renee Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Oprah Winfrey

Written by:
Jeremy Welsch
AKA The Rub

November 22, 2007

“Let this be a lesson to all you ants! Ideas are very dangerous things! You are mindless, soil-shoving losers, put on this Earth to serve us!”

- Hopper, A Bug’s Life


The Skinny:
Bees are busy, Barry gets bored.  Bees make honey, Barry wants more.

The Review:
According to an interview I read with Jerry Seinfeld, Bee Movie started out as a pretty funny premise.  Seinfeld told host Steven Spielberg that he might want to make something that would be a Hollywood “B movie” about bees and call it Bee Movie.  I think the possibilities to that idea would have been all but endless.  Sadly, the only thing that remains from that original conversation is the title. 

Coming from Jerry Seinfeld and some of the many other minds that brought us Seinfeld, this should have been a scathing commentary comparing the social structure of the bee colony to that of today’s society.  Or bee’s effective use of teamwork and communication would have been the perfect setting for a satire about corporate America.  What do we get instead?  Ambition blinded by the half-assed notion to be as clever and well animated as a Pixar movie.  For the record, it is neither. 

Bee Movie a confused little movie that doesn’t really ever find its groove.  For a movie whose subject matter is the supposedly efficient group of insects, they could’ve taken a page from their own book, or script, as it were.  Hodge-podge isn’t the right word, but it’s the first one that comes to mind.  For as many chuckles as there are, there are twice as many eye-rolling moments that make you want to raise the “WTF” flag. 

The plot is simple enough.  And by simple I mean both uncluttered and feeble-minded.  Having finished college - all three days of it - Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) becomes disillusioned with the idea of having to choose a career; the one he will have to keep for the rest of his life.  So he decides to venture outside.  After dodging death multiple times, he is finally saved by a human, Vanessa (Renee Zellweger).  Afterwards he decides he must talk to her, even if just to say thank you.  Not talking to humans is Rule #1 for bees.  Since he does, guess if it creates a problem?  Barry finds out that humans are harvesting honey and angrily spends the rest of the movie seeking justice.

Any more it is hard to bet against Pixar for computer animated films.  They are on a winning streak like no other studio has been - animated OR live action.  As a result, it is more difficult not to compare other studio’s attempts at animation.  They aren’t all bad, but the bad ones don’t come from Disney.  If this film is guilty of anything, it is two things; recycling and dumbing down work from previous studios.  Today’s animation has typically been the personification of either animal or fantasy characters.  But just because the ideas at their most basic form are similar doesn’t give anyone the right to expect us to applaud anything put before us because it is animated and cute.  But there usually is a pretty packaged message attached like a flower on a prom date.  What was it this time?  Well it started out with the promise of being a decent little story about one bee’s fight against the world, but sadly ended up being one that read something like: Don’t rock the boat too much or you’ll screw us all.


Now I both Jerry and his wife have the dubious distinction this week of being accused of using someone else’s material.  Being obscenely rich must be exhausting.

The Rub:
For as much promotion that has been done on this movie, and for as long as Seinfeld has been hawking the trailers, it is curious how boring the movie is.  Even the kids in the audience I saw it with (1:00, Saturday) got restless towards the end.  There are a few parts funny enough to get a laugh but the final result didn’t even end up being as good as the worst movie from the animation studio they tried to emulate. 

And there’s the rub.

starand 1/2

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