MAN VS BEE (NETFLIX) (2022)
SYNOPSIS: Bumbling dad Trevor tries to get the best of a cunning bee while house-sitting a posh mansion — but only unleashes more chaos in this comedy series.
Instead of returning to his unique brand of Bean comedy, Rowan Atkinson’s latest comedy series for Netflix focused its attention on a Bee. He is definitely not retooling Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie for sure but rest assured Atkinson’s slapstick gags are back to win over a new generation of fans.
Besides co-creating the effort, Atkinson reunites with his Johnny English Strikes Again director, David Kerr for Man Vs Bee, a nine part series which ironically should be shown as a full-length feature movie. Running at a mere 10 minutes per episode, Atkinson plays Trevor, a man hired to homesit a high-tech mansion equipped with a voice-activated security system while the owners went vacationing. The job is simple enough but waging a battle against a bee that refuses to leave the premises is not.
Not just down on luck, Trevor is a man with issues. His ex-wife laments he should stop obsessing with little details which results in losing his past jobs over a trolley and a shredder. And rather than paying his attention on his upcoming camping trip with his daughter, he is obsessed in killing the buzzing lonely bee which supposedly has a backstory of being ousted from its beehive.
Man Vs Bee obviously is not a movie about compulsive behaviour or the wonders of nature, it’s a chaotic showdown between man and bee. Atkinson and Kerr keep the pacing frenetic and pulling off every creative way you can think off to kill a bee. From trapping it in a grand piano to a microwave to using a flame thrower, Trevor is as ruthless as Cruella de Vil though he is in actual fact very much a softie at heart.
A cute collie named Cupcake serves as Atkinson’s co-star for the most part. Cupcake adds to the chaos with its issue with nut allergy, magnetic collar and love for food which at one point nearly kills her. The comedy is cleverly confine to a single location which provides Trevor the perfect chance to destroy priceless artworks and a first-generation Jaguar. Even a trio of fumbling burglars are not spared from Trevor’s fumbling ways.
With rubber face Jim Carrey “retiring”, its fortunate that his British counterpart, Rowan Atkinson is as enthusiastic as ever. The 67-year-old still plays an accident-prone character to perfection with his trademark exaggerated body language and expressions. Man Vs Bee is an easy watch for the entire family. It doesn’t really make much of a sense on the whole but its hilarity and absurdity is British/Bean/Bee comedy at its best.
Review by Linus Tee