Andy Bockelman: ‘Bee Movie’ stung by inconsistencies
November 12, 2007
In the mood for a cartoon with talking bugs and more black and yellow than a cab company? If so, then swarm to “Bee Movie.”
Fresh out of college, honeybee Barry B. Benson (voice of Jerry Seinfeld) and his best friend Adam (Matthew Broderick) look forward to beginning careers within their hive. However, Barry balks at the thought of spending the rest of his life working as a honey-maker. The one job that appeals to him is that of the “pollen jocks,” who fly out into the world to collect the necessary materials for manufacturing the hive’s livelihood.
Against Adam’s warnings, Barry flies along with the pollen crowd only to find out just how much humans loathe bees. Fortunately, his life is saved by a sweet woman named Vanessa (Renee Zellweger). The two of them become good friends as a result, but Barry is horrified when he discovers that the toiling of bees has led to a huge selection of honey, which humans use frivolously.
In order to remedy this injustice, he resolves to sue the human race. As the driving force behind the movie, Seinfeld is a triple threat as star, co-writer and producer. Zellweger is fine as Vanessa, as is Broderick as Adam, a Cinnabon junkie who is ecstatic to work nonstop in the hive.
Chris Rock adds some good laughs as an Alaska-bound mosquito with a taste for moose blood. Making appearances for the sake of “Seinfeld” buffs are Cosmo Kramer himself, Michael Richards, and recurring guest star Patrick Warburton.
Plenty more big names appear, including John Goodman, Kathy Bates and Megan Mullally, to name a few.
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This particular animated feature employs a number of clever ideas, among them antennae that function as cell phones, and the use of honey as everything from mouthwash to car fuel. Indeed, the animation is quite enjoyable as well.
Yet, something holds this movie back from being completely enjoyable, and that is promotion. Maybe it has to do with Seinfeld’s return to prominence, but the advertising for “Bee Movie” has made it out to be revolutionary.
While it is likable, it lacks the intelligence that the recent hits of animation have had. The story sputters occasionally and hides behind cameos from Ray Liotta and Sting (get it?) to cover up its poorly conceived plotline.
This truly is a shame, because had it not been presented as the “Citizen Kane” of cartoons, it would have been much easier to swallow.
Admittedly, “Bee Movie” does have enough juice to entertain, and the whole family can appreciate its humor even if it is not the best of its brand. Still, entomologists will want to avoid it all costs because of its countless fallacies about insects.