Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bee Movie: Leave it be.

Y'know, I actually LIKE Jerry Seinfeld now. My hubby and I have discovered, quite recently, that perhaps the hype that swirled around him, his show, and his ensemble cast in the 1990s was earned. We avoided Seinfeld like the plague when it was in first run, but now it's something we try to catch every night.

However, despite Jerry Seinfeld's presence in Bee Movie, he can't really save the movie from a malady that has plagued every Dreamworks-made feature after Prince Of Egypt: the "several set pieces in search of a story" syndrome. Say what you will about the's got some great stories in it. However, once removed from such rarified literary source material, the Dreamworks studio has consistently fallen flat on their faces.

Bee Movie is no exception to this. What passes for a story is regurgitated references to The Graduate and a bee/human courtship that is worthy of a second-grader's storytelling abilities. This is the thin stuff that holds the set pieces together...a tennis game where Barry the bee gets tangled up in the speeding rubber and fiber projectile, and a doomed trans-continental flight which is brought in by an army of bees, to give but two examples. Again, the pitch for this movie must have been spectacular. But there's really not much else there.

Another thing is that there really aren't but a few good jokes in this movie. For a movie which supposedly had a standup comedian as its guiding light, the funny is in very short supply. And still another is the squeak-toy look of all the characters, both human and bee. Everyone looks like they would let out a squeak if squeezed. And the typical Dreamworks disregard of physics is very much on display. Everything moves like Macy's Thanksgiving Day balloons. Just like they did in Antz and Shrek and Shark Tale, etc. etc.

I tried to give this a chance. I mean, Dreamworks treated ASIFA-Hollywood members really nicely this time, with a screening in the grand old main theatre of the Grauman's Chinese complex, free soft drinks, free popcorn, and lots and lots of Dreamworks' old SWAG standbys...pencils. Pencils for all. Very nice, guys. However, they can't buy this old broad off with tchotchkes, food and drink. Bee Movie is not a "B" Movie...I've seen too many good ones to grace it with such a distinction. It's a "D-" movie.