NPR logo 'Bee Movie'

Movies

'Bee Movie'

Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld, right) rides a windshield wiper with Mooseblood the mosquito (Chris Rock). DreamWorks hide caption

toggle caption DreamWorks

Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld, right) rides a windshield wiper with Mooseblood the mosquito (Chris Rock).

DreamWorks
  • Directors: Steve Hickner,                   Simon J. Smith
  • Genre: Animation, Comedy
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

(Requires RealPlayer)

Jerry Seinfeld's publicity juggernaut has made most of the sentient world aware of his new animated comedy — about a Manhattan honeybee who just sort of bumbles along, talking about nothing with his pals and having minor adventures.

Until he breaks one of the prime rules of bee-dom, and talks to a human. This leads, of course, to shopping.

And when he spots the condiments aisle, with its shelves full of Cute Bee, Golden Blossom, and Ray Liotta Private Reserve honey, our hero goes on the warpath. Humans, he decides, are stealing bee labor, so he and all his bee pals quit working — which means flowers don't get pollinated, vegetation turns brown, and the world just isn't very sweet anymore.

There are laughs — occasionally some pretty big ones — but kids are likely to get restless when the humor relies on their understanding legal strategy (the bees sue the human race). Or on their recognizing celebrity voices (Oprah Winfrey as a judge, John Goodman as a defense lawyer), most of which are wasted anyway.

One exception is a bloodsucking mosquito, voiced by Chris Rock. But he's got only a couple of scenes, and in between, the script rarely rises above the hummm-drum. It just drones along mildly, while the visual jokes languish. It's a movie with no particular style to its animation, no point to its plot twists, and no real reason for bee-ing.

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