- “Honey just got funny.”
Bee Movie is the first motion-picture script to be written by Seinfeld.
Barry B. Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) is "just an ordinary bee" in a hive located in Sheep Meadow, Central Park in New York City. Barry recently graduated from college and is about to enter the hive's Honex Industries (a division of Honesco Corporation and owned by Hexagon Group) honey-making workforce. Along with his best friend Adam Flayman (Matthew Broderick) Barry is initially very excited, but his latent, non-conformist attitude emerges upon finding out that his choice of job will never change once picked. This prompts Barry to leave the hive and see the world on a daily run with the macho, elite 'Pollen Jocks', though Adam tries to talk Barry out of it. He thoroughly enjoys his new freedom, and is impressed by the process of nectar collection and pollination, but after being stuck to a tennis ball during a game and flying through a panicky family's car he decides humans are crazy and that he should go home. Unfortunately, it begins to rain and he crash lands on a windowsill. The apartment's occupants have just come home and they close the window before Barry can escape. After freaking out the people inside and nearly being squashed, he is rescued by a female human named Vanessa Bloome (Renée Zellweger) and gently put back outside. This unexpected act of kindness intrigues Barry, who goes back in to thank the woman even though doing so would violate Bee Law #1 - "Don't talk to humans". Despite both of their expectations they develop an instant bond - bordering on attraction - and start hanging out together frequently. Of course all of their friends and family are completely upset by this relationship.
While they are going through a grocery store Barry is shocked to discover that the humans have been stealing and eating the bees' honey for centuries, and after venturing to Honey Farms and witnessing the artificial process by which the honey is gathered, he ultimately realizes that his true calling in life is to set the world right by suing the human race for stealing their precious honey. This is later shown on Bee Larry King via Hive at Five. The trial initially goes well, until the main defense lawyer (John Goodman) goads Adam into stinging him by pointing out the fact that all of the bees are siblings in order to show the less lovable side of bees, but Barry counters by producing the smoke-machine used by Honey Farms to drug and subdue their bees.
Barry wins the lawsuit, and all honey in the world is confiscated and returned to the bees. Too late, Barry and Vanessa realize that the sudden, massive stockpile of honey has put every bee out of a job, including the vitally important Pollen Jocks. Without bees pollinating the flowers, all plant life begins dying with the entire food chain close behind. To set things right, he and Vanessa find a way to save all the flowers by going to the Tournament of Roses Parade in California and bringing back with them all the pollen-filled flowers to re-pollinate the world. Barry and Vanessa fly the flowers as luggage on a flight from Los Angeles International Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport. The flight begins to take a detour there going to homeward bound the incredible journey at movie theater is which would be fatal to the flowers, and in trying to intervene Barry accidentally knocks out the terrified pilots. Vanessa joins him and tries unsuccessfully to fly the plane, but in the meantime millions of bees have rallied together and arrive at the last minute to help them safely land.
Armed with the pollen of the last flowers, Barry and the Pollen Jocks manage to reverse the damage and save the world's flowers, also restarting the bees' beloved honey production. Nothing is mentioned about the fate of the existing honey or companies like Honey Farms, though humans and bees are seen treating each other visibly better. Barry becomes a member of the Pollen Jocks, helping to pollinate the plants while also running a law firm inside Vanessa's flower shop, as well as helping Vanessa, switching the name from "Vanessa's Flowers" to "Vanessa and Barry: Flowers; Honey; Legal Advice". As the film closes, his office door reads "Insects at Law." Mooseblood also works in his office with him, shown when Barry is interviewing a cow.
- Jerry Seinfeld as Barry B. Benson
- Kathy Bates as Janet Benson
- Barry Levinson as Martin Benson
- Renée Zellweger as Vanessa Bloome
- Matthew Broderick as Adam Flayman
- Chris Rock as Mooseblood
- John Goodman as Layton T. Montgomery
- Patrick Warburton as Ken
- Oprah Winfrey as Judge Bumbleton
- Jim Cummings as Title Narrator and Graduation Announcer
- Michael Richards as Bud Ditchwater
- Larry King as Bee Larry King
- Larry Miller as Dean Buzzwell
- Megan Mullally as Trudy, Honex Tour Guide
- David Moses Pimentel as Hector
- Chuck Martin as Andy
- Brian Hopkins as Sandy Shrimpkin and TSA Agent
- John DiMaggio as Bailiff and Janitor
- Tress MacNeille as Jeanette Chung, Mother and Cow
- Simon J. Smith as Truck Driver and Chet
- Ray Liotta as Himself
- Sting as Himself
- Robert Jayne as Bee
- Carl Kasell as Himself
Megan Mullally was originally going to voice Trudy and had even recorded her lines, but this character was cut from the film. Seinfeld still wanted her to have a part in the movie, so he gave her the role of the Honex Tour Guide. At one point, Uma Thurman, Rebecca Soler, Lisa Kudrow, David Letterman, and Raven Symone were all attached to the film, but they dropped out for various reasons.
Production on the project began when Jerry Seinfeld sat down to have dinner with acclaimed director Steven Spielberg. Over dinner Seinfeld joked about making a movie about bees. Spielberg, however, took the idea very seriously and prompted Seinfeld to pursue the joke. Eventually, Seinfeld was sold and thus began a script, but Seinfeld did not envision it as the CGI film it became; Seinfeld actually released two trailers for the movie, but in live action. After widespread disgust, Spielberg suggested to "make it a cartoon".
Though Bee Movie was nominated for a Golden Globe, reviews were mostly mixed. Many critics claimed it had its funny moments, but never delivered any true memorable moments. The film holds a 51% approval rating on the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. IMDb gives it a more sympathetic 6.2 rating for the movies efforts.
- This is a third computer-animated film by DreamWorks Animation to be produced at their Glendale studio along with Shark Tale and Over the Hedge.
- This is the first time (and first use in the film) the clouds was fully rendered instead being a still image on background.
In June 2016, a fan asked if a Bee Movie 2 would be made. In response, Seinfeld stated, “I considered it this spring for a solid six hours. There's a fantastic energy now for some reason, on the internet particularly. Tumblr, people brought my attention to. I actually did consider it, but then I realized it would make Bee Movie 1 less iconic. But my kids want me to do it, a lot of people want me to do it. A lot of people that don't know what animation is want me to do it. If you have any idea what animation is, you'd never do it.”