Directed by: Simon J. Smith & Steve Hickner
Written by: Jerry Seinfeld, Andy Robin, Barry Marder, Spike Feresten
Starring: Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, Patrick Warburton
Some films are made that truly floor you with trying to figure out how it all came together. Something that gets so ridiculous with each scene, that it seems like life has been nothing but a simulation testing how many puns you can actually handle. A ridiculousness that only something like Bee Movie could capture in all its glory.
Now a graduate from the university in his hive, Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) has to join the workforce. He dreams of being one of the bees who goes out and pollinates the plants. When given the opportunity to go on an expedition with them, he runs into a human named Vanessa (Renée Zellweger). Through the friendship he strikes with her, Barry learns about the intricacies of the bee-human relationship.
Any movie that utilizes the amount of puns as Bee Movie does is something after my heart. Puns are the pinnacle of dad jokes, they’re simply the best. I’m totally not being serious, or am I? Everything in this story and script happens to build around its puns, which honestly shows some incredible commitment to the game. From the name of the protagonist to the title of the film itself. Bee Movie like a B-movie, get it? That’s where the enjoyment materializes in this film. It’s a complete farce and the writers are in on the joke.
When Barry leaves the hive, he has an optimistic view of the world and breaks the sacred rule of never talking to humans. The friendship he strikes with Vanessa shows him another perspective of the world and it borders on attraction. At times, I got scared exactly where this film wanted to take the relationship between Barry and Vanessa seeing that Barry is a bee. I felt like that needed to be said somehow. When he goes through a supermarket with her, he sees all of the honey that gets harvested by humans for consumption. This haunting realization makes him sue the entire human race in order to stop them from harvesting more honey. Yes, you read that correctly. Barry sues the entire human race and somehow this trial takes place in New York with no representation outside of the United States. It makes me wonder what realistic issue anyone would sue the human race for. The moment where this case actually takes place says everything you need to know about Bee Movie.
It has a good message about the importance of bees, which it eventually gets to in the third act, but the rest of it becomes an absolutely messy and sticky pot of ridiculousness. The whole idea of a trial makes no sense in any way, but still has some entertaining qualities to it. Again, he’s suing the entire human race. You have to go with the absurdity of the story and I must have been in quite the right mood, as I enjoyed the dumb ride this film took me on.
Jerry Seinfeld co-wrote the screenplay and voiced Barry. His voice sticks out more than almost any other. It’s become iconic but when voicing a bee, I found it to be quite distracting. Renée Zellweger voices Vanessa fairly well but it’s always great to hear the deep and booming voice of Patrick Warburton as Vanessa’s boyfriend, Ken. His voice also has become iconic and he has such a rich track record with voicing roles of animated characters. It cannot be confused for any other. Additionally, there’s Matthew Broderick, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Kathy Bates, Barry Levinson, Oprah, Rip Torn, and many others to join the fun. It’s always fun to see these big names join a voice cast, even for such small roles.
Bee Movie, as a film, has some pretty substandard storytelling and makes many leaps in logic to wrap everything up in the end. It probably will not be enjoyed by many but I found myself having a blast trying to count every bee pun they could squeeze out of the material. The counting makes for a fun exercise and the circumstances Barry finds himself in are fairly funny. A film that knows the dumb nature of its storytelling, but still anchored by an important message about how bees represent a focal point to our ecosystem.