ANIMATION; 1hr 28min
VOICES BY: Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger
The bee team: Benson (middle)
Maybe it’s not such a stretch for minutiae-obsessed comedian Jerry Seinfeld to turn his fine-tuned attention from disaffected New Yorkers to a hive of animated bees: at any rate, he is right at home in their black-and-yellow universe.
Seinfeld makes snappy work of the voice of spindle-shanked buzzball Barry B. Benson, who refuses to succumb to the monotony of hive life and ventures out into the wilds of Manhattan. There, he defies bee law by befriending feisty florist Vanessa (voiced by Zellweger), who serves him coffee and cake crumbs in her apartment. Barry’s straitlaced parents (Kathy Bates and Barry Levinson) are appalled. Then their boy discovers that humans are stealing — and selling — his hive’s lifeblood honey.
The bugs are a triumph of scale, but when Barry takes his case to court, the script takes a turn to rhetoric. More riffing from the likes of Chris Rock (voicing a smart-mouthed mosquito) and less reflection on the delicate balance of nature, and this hit-and-miss ’toon could have put the bee into bizarre.