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queen bees

★★★

director: Michael Lembeck (the santa clause 2, tooth fairy)

starring: ellen burstyn, ann margret, loretta devine and james caan

REVIEWER: lyall carter

After reluctantly agreeing to move in to a senior's home, a woman encounters a clique of mean-spirited women and an amorous widower.

It’s an art, and a rather lucrative one at that, to produce a decent and entertaining film that is made for the Boomer generation. Queen Bees is one such film. While slightly light on plot Queen Bees is still an entertaining breezy, funny and at times quite poignant tale that will delight its target audience. 

 

While her house undergoes repairs, fiercely independent senior Helen (Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn) moves into a nearby retirement community — just temporarily. Once behind the doors of Pine Grove Senior Community, she encounters lusty widows, cutthroat bridge tournaments and a hotbed of bullying "mean girls" the likes of which she hasn't encountered since high school, all of which leaves her yearning for the solitude of home. But somewhere between flower arranging and water aerobics Helen discovers that it's never too late to make new friends and perhaps even find a new love. 

 

A Mean Girls with arthritis, Queen Bees is a thinly plotted tale that delivers exactly what it says on the can - but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. What makes this tale so engaging and entertaining is the acting talent of Burstyn particularly and the themes that it explores. 

 

Burstyn is not only an actor with vast experience but she is an Oscar winning one at that. This is no accident. She deftly creates a character with great depth of humanity from a script that is pretty light on details. She is a complete joy in the role of Helen.

 

Predictably but hilariously the film tackles all the ailments that come with aging from all the aches of aging to the need of a little blue pill for more intimate moments. But it’s as it explores the tough side of life from grief and loss to serious illness that Queen Bees is at its most poignant. It’s a reminder that it’s the deep connections of friendship, family and community that make our world a little brighter. 

 

While slightly light on plot Queen Bees is still an entertaining breezy, funny and at times quite poignant tale that will delight its target audience. 

★★★