I apologize for that not-terribly-clever headline, but I offer it to kind of prove a point: It's about as funny as most of what you'll encounter in Jerry Seinfeld's "Bee Movie."
Which is a real shame, 'cause for the first fifteen minutes or so it's thoroughly charming and, more importantly, funny. Life in the hive, dominated by the leviathan Honex corporation (producing, of course, honey), makes for a rapid succession of very funny jokes about the life span of bees, working for your whole life, etc. With a lot more focus this could have been a kind of bee "Office Space," but alas it was not to be.
Because this flick thinks it has to be a lot more than that, our hero, Barry B. Benson (voiced with less than his usual smugness by Mr. Seinfeld) has to leave the hive, and that's where things fall apart. As my mind often does when movies start to lose its attention, I drifted to other movies I've had a beef with, in this case Tim Burton's thoroughly unnecessary "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," but in reverse. What they both lacked after brilliant openings, as "Bee Movie" left the factory and Burton's "Charlie" went into it, was almost any sense of wonder at all.
Now, I understand that (with big help from Larry David and others) Mr. Seinfeld created a sitcom that was "about nothing," and managed to make a very funny one at that. To make an entertaining 90-minute animated movie about nothing, which he tried to do here, would be no mean feat, but despite being intermittently funny throughout it really doesn't even come close.
What's the big drama once our hero Barry leaves the hive? A lawsuit, and believe it or not, it's even less compelling on screen than you could possibly imagine it would be, despite the best efforts of John Goodman as the opposing attorney. Barry, of course, also meets and becomes smitten with a florist voiced by Renee Zellweger, who I'll return to later with, I'm warning you now, some venom.
First, a word about the overall look of "Bee Movie" which, again outside of the hive, is just depressingly generic. If you've seen Miyazaki's "Kiki's Delivery Service" (and if you haven't, why not), try not to think too much about young Kiki soaring over Miyazaki's majestic landscapes of Europe as you watch Barry and the "pollen jockeys" flying over the CGI, paint-by-numbers version of what is somehow supposed to be New York City in "Bee Movie."
What this newfangled animation does to scenery, however, is far less destructive than what it does to people, specifically poor Ms. Zellweger as the florist Vanessa. As animators try to make their human characters more real, it just gets more and more perverse, in this case turning Vanessa's face into what Ms. Zellweger's looks like each time directly after she's sucked off the pounds put on for a "Bridget Jones" movie. Not pretty. It doesn't help that Vanessa's voice and mannerisms just make you want to choke her and end it all.
So, as you can tell, I really didn't care too much at all for "Bee Movie," but before I go I'd like to offer a special note of encouragement to the very young lady who, as her mother informed us before the movie started, was enjoying (or not) her first moviegoing experience with this one. Take heart, young one, because there are much better flicks than "Bee Movie" out there for you to behold. For a start, have your mom rent "Ratatouille" next Tuesday to see what a wonder great animation can really be, though you might want to have her fast-forward through the rather scary opening sequence.
As for me, there's a hopefully much better movie in my immediate future, with a screening of Ridley Scott's "American Gangster" at noon. Peace out.