If Jerry Seinfeld's TV show was about nothing, then his movie, Bee Movie, can be accused of just the opposite -- or at the very least, of violently changing course every couple minutes. It's an unqualified delight to be reacquainted with Seinfeld's distinctive voice and all the past laughs it calls to mind, but one wishes it were in the service of something sturdier than Bee Movie. While that title is a clever pun, there's nothing second-rate about this enterprise. Its colorful universe pops at every turn, as the DreamWorks animators conjure an intricate hive world where residents are comically temporary cogs in the larger machine, but don't seem any less cheerful for that fact. Bee Movie also makes some wonderful initial strides outside that world, as Seinfeld's Barry B. Benson accidentally meets a human woman, voiced at perfect pitch by Renée Zellweger. Seinfeld and Zellweger have such great chemistry, his pluck matching her loopiness, that their scenes together simply breeze by, making a bee-human pseudo courtship seem almost plausible. This disbelief becomes harder to suspend when Barry decides to sue the human race for wrongful appropriation of the bees' tirelessly wrought fruit: their precious honey. The courtroom trial and the events that follow provide a further strain on narrative fluidity. Ardent Seinfeld fans may blissfully follow his zigzaggy, convention-damning logic, but others will probably scratch their heads. The comedian deserves credit for thinking bigger than the contained bug worlds of Antz and A Bug's Life, but excess ambition didn't serve him well in the finale of his venerable show, either. (Maybe he should just stay out of courtrooms.) Still, in most respects this is a worthy realization of Seinfeld and friends' own tireless labors, even if its flaws -- like some groan-inducing one-liners -- seep through on a second viewing.
by Derek Armstrong review