From day one of the "Bee Movie" previews, with Jerry Seinfeld in a giant bee costume, I confess starting to check out of seeing this one when it came to theatres. Apparently, the studio took the feedback of the horrible reception and switched this into an animated feature -- and I think that switch paid off for them.
Bumble bee Barry graduates college, but on account of being a bee, there's only one job available to him: working in the beehive. (Why go to college, eh? But let's not undermine the value of a good education.) Barry manages to sneak out of the hive, and much like Flik did nearly a decade ago, Barry sets out to see what else goes on besides food production.
Once in the great outdoors, Barry soars, wanders, and comes to find himself in the floral shop owned by Vanessa. He's forbidden from talking to humans, but does it anyway after she saves his life. They chat, and in the course of doing so, he's shocked to learn humans steal, sell, and eat their honey (the Ray Liotta brand, y'know; Ray goes all out and does the voice of... himself).
Unlike the tragedy-waiting-to-happen trailers with Jerry Seinfeld in his giant bee costume, we're instead treated to a charming little bug story that's long on sweet, short on sting. The writing is snappy and clever (and may not come as a huge surprise Seinfeld is one of the writers as you begin to pick up on some of his mannerisms and Seinfeld-esque quirks).
"Bee Movie" managed to turn around before it flew out the door and delivered a snappy, funny to all ages (both kid humor and adult snippets in there for those of us who no longer take naps), in the same vein of the "Shrek" trilogy. While it may not have been originally destined to be delivered in this medium, I think it worked out wonderfully that the animation, the story, and the cast all brought together something you can take the whole family too without a second's hesitation -- and know they'll all enjoy it.