Bee Movie Review
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Since his mega-hit TV show went off the air in 1998, Jerry Seinfeld has kept a relatively low profile, perfectly content to save most of his jokes for his wife and kids. So when DreamWorks Animation announced that they were working on an animated Seinfeld movie, most Seinfeld-ophiles started counting down the days until its release—eager to see Jerry take on the world of cartoon bees.

In the Seinfeld written and produced Bee Movie, Jerry stars as the voice of Barry B. Benson, a young honeybee who graduates from college to discover the harsh reality of a honeybee’s life: working the same old job, day after day, until he dies. So before he chooses his job, he decides to go out and see the world outside the hive.

After he’s saved from certain death by kind-hearted human Vanessa (Renée Zellweger), Barry decides to break bee laws and talk to her, sparking a strange friendship that leads Barry to discover yet another disturbing fact. For years, Barry discovers, humans have been eating the bees’ precious honey. So he decides to take matters into his own hands and sue the honey manufacturers.

Like Seinfeld’s TV series, Bee Movie is basically a movie about nothing. The story listlessly meanders around—from Barry’s life as a bee to his relationship with Vanessa to his big lawsuit—but it never really focuses on any one thing for very long. It does, however, seem to have some sort of a moral: don’t try to make a difference—because you’ll only make things even worse. Probably not a lesson that you want your kids to learn. but it’s a lesson nonetheless.

The movie tries really hard to be funny, but it doesn’t really succeed. The script is peppered with one-liners, the majority of which are un-funny grown-up jokes—so the kids won’t get them, and the adults won’t laugh. And the writing just feels lazy and weak. Instead of finding creative solutions to the story’s various challenges, the writers chose to take the easy way out.

For instance, I can imagine this kind of conversation going on in a writers’ meeting: “Hey, how do we explain the fact that Barry can talk to humans, even though you’ve never actually heard a bee talk?”

“Well, how ‘bout we just say that bees really can talk—they’re just not supposed to? Then we’ll throw them off by making Ray Liotta some kind of a crazy villain, and they’ll forget that none of it makes sense.”

“Brilliant! Let’s do that. Somebody get Liotta on the phone.”

Despite all the Seinfeld buzz, Bee Movie fails to take off. It’s unfortunate, too—because most of the animation is simply spectacular, and the cast is top-notch (Who doesn’t love Patrick Warburton?). Sure, die-hard Seinfeld fans might find the movie interesting—if only because of Seinfeld’s involvement—but most viewers will find that Bee Movie a very long joke without a punch line.

DVD Review:
Though Bee Movie isn’t exactly buzz-worthy, the Very Jerry Two-Disc Edition DVD offers plenty of extras for viewers of all ages. The main disc features the usual—the extra scenes, six(!) alternate endings, all kinds of commercials and promos, and (my personal favorite) a feature on the movie’s incredible cast.

Disc two of the set offers a few more features for adults and a whole bunch of interactive stuff for kids. Some of it is all in good fun, but other features are actually educational. In fact, if you ever wanted to know more about bees, this DVD is a pretty good place to start. Then again, I do question a bit of the information, since the featurette on how to avoid getting stung suggests (a) stay calm—but if that doesn’t work, try (b) running in the opposite direction or (c) screaming. But maybe I’m just bitter—because I took the quiz to choose my ideal bee job, and it told me that I’m best suited to be a crud picker.

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