Have you ever longed for something good and it turned out, well, disappointing?
Nine years after leaving Seinfeld at the top of the ratings, big-deal comedian Jerry Seinfeld produces his long awaited first movie with the help of the Spielberg’s, his giant star buddies and CGI magic. The animated film Bee Movie opens to much gushing, fanfare, fast food toys and action figures.
“With all that money and talent at work you’d expect Bee Movie to be good, eh? I mean if it wasn’t great, you’d expect it to at least be good, rrrright? Well sorry Matilda; It ain’t great and it ain’t really very good.”
Okay, back to the film. I need to declare my allegiances at this point; I do like Jerry Seinfeld’s work. I liked the narcissistic sitcom Seinfeld and his stand up routine. He’s a big star. Stipulated. Done.
The problem with Bee Movie is not the fault of DreamWorks. The animation is simple and competent; not as good as Over the Hedge, but not bad. The flaw in this movie isn’t the animation or the voice-overs but the tedious, un-spontaneous script. It’s about as funny as the average episode of Dora the Explorer.
Anthropoid bee, Barry B. Benson (Seinfeld) revolts against performing one job for life. (Get it? Jerry wants to do more than just “Seinfeld”.) Against all advice, he dares to fly with the big boys and ends up talking to a human florist (Renée Zellweger,) which is forbidden. After endless inside jokes (Ray Liotta takes a beating) and puns (Barry is ethnically “bee-ish,”) he discovers that humans steal honey from the bees, and so Barry B. Benson does what any American “bee-ish” bee would do. He sues in court and havoc ensues, leading to an ironic “Seinfeldian” ending.
Jerry Seinfeld told CNN’s Larry King that he “tinkered endlessly” with this movie “making about 600 changes to the script”. Herein lies the problem; too much Jerry Seinfeld! The jokes are rendered like specimens on a microscope slide.
Chris Rock gets the funniest line in the movie toward the end as he’s a mosquito lawyer. Can you see the joke coming? That’s how it is for this movie; obvious situation leads to obvious punch line. Such a waste. Zellweger, Rock, Matthew Broderick, John Goodman, Kathy Bates and more wasted, on average, routine drivel.
Bee Movie ads describe it as “a comedy that will change everything you thought you knew about bees”. Yeah, and Scooby Doo changed everything you thought you knew about dogs. The hype around this movie is similar to that of Snakes on a Plane.
As a young children’s’ movie, Bee Movie works well and it was fine for my ten year old, just a bit of a yawner for me. Only the hardcore Seinfeld fan should waste their treasure on the film. Everyone else should wait for the DVD or better yet, watch a rerun of Seinfeld.