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Bee Movie

Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
Film: A-

Directed by: Steve Hickner and Simon Smith
Written by: Jerry Seinfeld, Spike Feresten, Barry Marder and Andy Robin
Produced by: Jerry Seinfeld and Christina Steinberg
Starring: Jerry Seinfeld, Renee Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, Patrick Warburton, John Goodman, Kathy Bates, Barry Levinson, Chris Rock, Larry Miller, Rip Torn
Studio: DreamWorks Pictures

There's something about animated insects that seems to attract popular big-city comedians for some reason. New York's Woody Allen lent his familiar voice to Antz with slightly embarrassing results. A couple of months later, Mark Foley, from Toronto's "Kids in the Hall" troupe, played the lead in Pixar's A Bug's Life, succeeding rather well. However, unlike Allen and Foley, both of whom were hired after story completion, DreamWorks' Bee Movie was sitcom star Jerry Seinfeld's project from the very beginning. The film features his usual charm and wit and as is able to succeed without going through the "off-colour adult humour" route that seem to be plague modern animated productions.

Like other animated films about talking bugs, Bee Movie portrays its title heroes as human-like, showing a close-up at the hive and comparing the two different species rather comically. Bees are shown as using honey for hygiene, flying as the equivalent of running and graduating university in a grand total of three days. Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld), however, is less than enthralled about having the same job for the rest of his life, despite the excitement of his best friend Adam (Matthew Broderick). Barry decides to fly out of the hive and explore the outside world. After being saved by a human florist (Renee Zellweger), he befriends her and soon finds out that humans have been eating honey for decades. In response, Barry sues the human race and the honey factories are shut down. Unfortunately, things don't become as cheery as Barry had planned.

To put it simply, Barry is essentially Jerry Seinfeld in bee form. He constantly tells jokes wondering the reason for certain things and he plays off other characters very well. Zellweger gives an almost Elaine Benes vibe in her performancer as the florist and this leads to some humourous moments between her and Barry, creating a relationship almost akin to that of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. The other actors do rather well, too. Matthew Broderick once again plays the straight man and voice-of-reason with a calm feel, while John Goodman puts on a humourous Sourthern accent for his role as an insect-hating lawyer. Seinfeld also rounds up celebrity cameos from Ray Liotta (who is able to lampoon himself with a little help from the animators), Larry King and Sting. Chris Rock also provides the film's funniest line as a blood-starved mosquito.

Bee Movie also proves to be a rather winning social commentary on the legal system and how suing shouldn't necessarily be the answer to everything. There are also some funny jokes on inter-racial marriage and airport regulations. That's for the adults. For the younglings, this film is funny for them as well, mixing colourful animation with some physical comedy and roller-coaster-ride sequences. Harry Gregson-Williams' bouncy score also adds to the charisma and fun of the production. Insect biologists will probably cry fowl regarding the film's inaccuracies, like how it shows both male and female bees making honey (although, like the human world, both genders are probably equal in the workplace) as well as forgetting the fact that only female mosquitoes suck blood. However, the film is so entertaining and so funny, that these can be overlooked. Overall, Seinfeld has made Bee Movie just as intelligent and funny as even Pixar's productions.

Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) looks in awe at the outside world in Bee Movie.
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