Fri, Jul 8, 2022 10:07 AM

Critic vs Man vs Bee



Review by Andrew Cunningham

Comedy writing generally falls into one of two categories: Sane Person in an Insane World; or Insane Person in a Sane World.

A good example of the latter is the timeless Mr Bean, where the title character is a lunatic trying to operate in a crushingly mundane British setting.

I mention Mr Bean for a reason, because Man vs Bee is about as close to an outright replication as it’s possible to make without summoning the copyright vultures. It even stars Rowan Atkinson, who slips in and out of his Bean persona with practiced ease.
The problem is this: Man vs Bee is not Mr Bean.

The creators of the show failed to recreate the most important part of Mr Bean - the collision of an Insane Man with a Sane World.

At various times our main character Trevor Bingley behaves relatably, usually when interacting with his daughter, but at other times he behaves in ways that no thinking human would - usually when interacting with the titular Bee.

The world around him is similarly inconsistent. A cartoonish gang of thieves is juxtaposed with an almost uncomfortably realistic policeman on several occasions, and I found it to be a lurch every time.

Fortunately for Man vs Bee, these problems do not outweigh the robust core of the show.

Rowan Atkinson has spent a lifetime mastering physical comedy, and is able to communicate with facial expressions alone more fluently than most people could if given a team of writers.

For those who remember Mr Bean fondly, this will satisfy that particular palate - although it’s not quite as quick and is a little more unhinged.

For those just looking for something funny to relax with for an evening, this is a nice, bite-sized comedy that doesn’t demand much from its audience - though it might leave you scratching your head at the point of it all.

If you didn’t like Mr Bean, then steer clear - because this is essentially the same, but not as good.

Final Score: 3 out of 5 Bees

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