Barry B Benson (Seinfeld) is a bee with a plan. Well, not so much a plan, more a plan to avoid the plan. As a bee graduate — with college being the hardest day of his short bee life — Barry is expected to take up a job at Honex. And stay there for the rest of his life.
But Barry wants more. He wants to see outside the hive and, after a run in with the 'pollen jocks', he gets his chance. When things go wrong, he finds himself in an apartment owned by Vanessa (Zellweger). When she steps in and stops her boyfriend (Seinfeld regular Warburton) squashing Barry, Barry breaks the big rule: never talk to humans.
As his friendship with Vanessa blossoms, Barry discovers a painful truth: humans eat honey but — and here's the rub — they don't pay the bees for it. Indeed, they EXPLOIT bee-kind for the stuff. So Barry sues and, this being a cartoon / family film, learns a few major lessons in the process.
Morally Bee Movie takes the predictable line but, thanks to Seinfeld's script, you don't really notice. There's a steady supply of good one liners — stingers, perhaps? — and they're neatly delivered by the man himself, and the observations on bee-life are a lot of fun. Plus of course, you get Sting taking the mickey out of himself and Ray Liotta clearly having a great time as a honey magnate called Ray Liotta. There are flaws — the likes of Broderick as Barry's best friend gets very little to do — and the hint of romance between Vanessa and Barry is a little weird to say the least but there are more than enough good points to keep things, ahem, buzzing.
SECOND OPINION | Jo Wood ****½ This much-hyped cartoon movie is definitely one for family viewing over Christmas. Barry B Benson (Seinfeld) is a bee who dreams of life outside the hive (resonating Pixar's Antz). After a chance journey into the outside world he is saved from a fate worse than death by Vanessa Bloome (Zellweger), a florist whom Barry falls hook line and sinker for. After a hilarious initial bee-to-woman conversation, the couple strike up an unlikely companionship. However, on discovering the human thirst for honey, Barry finds his calling in life — not that of a worker in the hive, but petitioning against the illegal harvesting of honey by slave bees world-wide, and suing, well, humans. This movie is as much for the adults as the kids, with some nice hidden adult humor, including enough laugh-out-loud moments to dull the irritation of Zellweger's voice. Genius casting comes, however, in the guise of John Goodman, who voices the unlucky in-insect lawyer, with guest voice appearances from Ray Liotta, Larry King, Sting, and Chris Rock as an eccentric mosquito. The film reeks of Seinfeld’s humor, and although the courtroom scenes are the weakest, mostly this film is a roller coaster of a ride, gags galore, with a glaring and enjoyable moral to the tale, taboot. Watch this movie — bee happy.
• Official Site
• Bee Movie at IMDb