Children's comedy fails to make kids laugh
Jerry Seinfeld has never exactly been known to be particularly kid friendly. So the thought of him portraying a bee – of all creatures – in an animated comedy certainly raises eyebrows. "Bee Movie" says no, mainly due to the film's more mature-oriented gags, which fail to appeal to the target kid audience.
The film tells the tale of bee Barry B. Bennett (Seinfeld), a fresh graduate of Bee College, who is disheartened to learn that he is fixed to one job – making honey – for life. He decides to leave the hive for the first time with the "pollen jocks," an elite group of brawny bees responsible for pollination. Awed and inexperienced with the outside world, Barry suddenly finds himself in a series of misfortunes. Much to his luck, Vanessa Bloome (Renee Zellweger), an aptly named florist, saves his life.
Barry is so grateful that he decides to break the rule of never interacting with humans to personally thank her. After overcoming the initial shock of talking to a bee, Vanessa makes fast friends him. As their relationship blossoms, Barry becomes more accustomed to the world outside the hive and soon learns the horrible truth, that humans take honey from bees without their knowledge. The hero subsequently decides to sue them, creating a huge federal case.
"Bee Movie" certainly buzzes with clever jokes, but the kids who squealed with joy when they saw the trailer will be very disappointed when their mommies and daddies are laughing at scenes they don't find amusing. "Bee Movie" exceeds the appropriate number of pop culture references for a children's film; a Larry King bee is funny, having Oprah as the judge is still okay but adding Sting and Ray Liotta to the honey pot is pushing it.
Children will continue to be vexed when they are unable to relate to the premise of a bee taking legal action. In theory, this plot may appear to be hilarious, but 90 minutes of this will cause boredom even within the more mature audience members.
Nevertheless, children will not be completely disappointed as the movie has its fair share of slapstick comedy. There were moments when both parents and tots alike were giggling, such as when a fat man rolls around in an oversized toddlers' walker or when Barry gets tossed back and forth while attached to a tennis ball.
"Bee Movie" is imaginatively animated and the scenes of Barry's tour of the amusement park-inspired hive and his initial venture into the outside world in particular depict awesome graphics. It is also hard not to admire the realistic portrayals of famous pop icons, even if their presence was a bit unnecessary.
Though it appears to have great potential, "Bee Movie" is sadly unsuccessful in appealing to its intended audience. Those who can truly enjoy and appreciate the film would be a rather precocious seven year old or a Seinfeld fan who is unashamed of seeing the film without his or her niece.
Bee Movie is rated PG for mildly risque humor and is playing in area theaters.
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