Bee MovieStarring Loren Horsley and Jemaine Clement. Directed by Taika Waititi
Running Time: 86 minutes
Rated: Ratted M (moderate coarse language, moderate sexual references)
This is a deadpan comedy, a story of an awkward young woman who serves at a fast-food outlet, lives with her brother and has longing eyes on an awkward young man who works at an electronic games outlet in the mall. Not the most enticing couple to spend time with.
The trouble is that the writer-director has to make the two interesting. With their laconic, direct statements and answers to questions, with their ingenuous and literal attitude towards life, there is the danger that the audience will be almost forced to be patronising towards them and their often foolish behaviour.
As the film goes on and we get to know - and get used to - the two and their sometimes even dimmer relatives and friends, we can't help but warm to them, especially Lily (Loren Horsley who co-wrote the screenplay with director Taika Waititi) from whose point of view we see (and abstain from judging) everyone. Jarrod (Jemaine Clement), her idol, is eccentrically self-centred and dim-witted, despite his abilities. Lily almost defeats him (she lets him win) at a computer game competition at his Come-as-your-favourite-animal party which she was not invited to but gets her friend's invitation. She comes as a Shark. He is an Eagle. He warms to her (insofar as he can be warm), begins a relationship and persuades her brother to drive him to his home town where he wants to have it out with someone who bullied him at school. There is also tension at home because of the suicide of his sports talented older brother.
Lily and Jarrod are a couple whose yes is yes and no is no. They speak (laconically, even monosyllabically) but are always truthful and direct. Given the way most people hedge their remarks and try to save themselves by ambiguity, this is often quite startling as well as amusing.
Set on the east coast of the north island of New Zealand, this is a very local production (accents and all) that is anchored in ordinary life. There is an intriguing charm about it all.
Icon Out 6th February
Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.