Rowan Atkinson’s Netfix Comedy Man vs Bee Is Fun But Forgettable

Trevor (Rowan Atkinson) in man vs bee (Netflix)

How Trevor (Rowan Atkinson) unleashes hell on an unsuspecting insect in man vs bee Starting June 24 on Netflix, audiences will enjoy a tradition of slapstick comedy, started by silent film greats Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.

These movie stars of the past, who worked in orchestrated silence on the silver screen, performed physical feats that would make Tom Cruise pale. Each man creating a specific persona that conveyed enormous emotional weight, alongside carefully choreographed pieces that would help turn entertainment into an industry.

In Charlie Chaplin’s case, “The Tramp” not only became an icon of classless inclusivity, who instantly translated his films regardless of language, but also built a studio at United Artists.

See More information: Everything New on Netflix in June

Rowan Atkinson, who co-conceived and starred man vs beecombined the most influential elements of Chaplin and Keaton when he created Mr. bean.

Man Vs Bee (Netflix)

man vs bee (Netflix)

An amalgamation of French mime-turned-movie star Jacque Tati, in addition to incorporating generous hat-tips to his Hollywood precursors, he has transformed Mr. bean into a global brand with universal appeal that connected audiences regardless of ethnicity, gender or native language.

What this new Netflix series tries to do is capture some of that magic, tapping into Rowan Atkinson’s natural knack for precision drops, non-verbal communication, and sheer farce.

He plays the caretaker of a hyperactive dog and an antagonistic insect prone to causing chaos, which causes some inspired material damage, alongside moments of genuine pathos.

See More information: Rowan Atkinson Doesn’t Like Playing Mr Bean

Where Mr. bean introduced a true innocent into the world, who traded his childish curiosity and emotional honesty, man vs bee connect in a different way.

Atkinson’s character here is someone with the best of intentions, who is paralyzed by an obsessive nature, which not only ends his marriage, but sets up a characteristic disability for the carnage that follows.

Julian Kolstad Bergenbatten (Julian Rhind-Tutt) and Nina Kolstad Bergenbatten (Jing Lusi) in Man Vs Bee (Netflix)

Julian Kolstad Bergenbatten (Julian Rhind-Tutt) and Nina Kolstad Bergenbatten (Jing Lusi) man vs bee (Netflix)

Over nine very short episodes, man vs bee sets emotional risks, lays out potential catastrophes, and then sees it catch fire, while priceless artwork, old manuscripts, and vintage cars pay the price of this one-man war against insects. One that starts, at least, with Trevor in court awaiting trial as flashbacks fill in his crimes and misdemeanors.

With an uncredited Julian Rhind Tutt (The magician) and Jing Lusi (Crazy Rich Asians) playing the super-rich Kolstad Bergenbattens, things start well. Working to a tight time limit as they go through instructions at a rate of us, this opening episode is a master class in misunderstanding. This only escalates when Trevor is left alone with only a manual for salvation as his misguided war of attrition begins to gather steam.

See More information: Everything New on Disney+ in June

The audience that goes to this series needs to know that man vs bee rarely tries to break new ground. This is a piece of light entertainment for the whole family that never overtly offends or strays beyond the bounds of good taste. Any and all mishaps that happen are counterbalanced by a good-natured characterization, which never seems mischievous or mean.

Trevor (Rowan Atkinson) in Man Vs Bee (Netflix)

Trevor (Rowan Atkinson) in man vs bee (Netflix)

Even when situations are on the verge of disbelief, Rowan Atkinson is able to keep things engaging, giving Trevor a moral center. With Lorne Balfe (Top Gun: Maverick) also in songwriting duties, any musical contributions are punctual and incidental rather than overbearing or intentionally intrusive.

If there is any complaint to be made with this series, it would be that the premise feels almost too light in construction. While the visual effects, which make up the majority of any grand set, are to be applauded, as Atkinson is reacting to thin air, it may have benefited from being longer. Some of the episodes are only ten minutes long, leaving them looking like extended sketches rather than part of something larger.

Man Vs Bee (Netflix)

man vs bee (Netflix)

Which means this perfectly conceived piece of comic farce almost falls apart due to its reliance on brevity. There’s no denying the physical prowess Atkinson displays, as well as delivering emotional beats alongside his daughter Maddy (India Fowler), but all in all, that still feels too light for its own good.

leaving man vs. Bee in the unenviable position of being just a short-term distraction rather than a long-term investment for those who enjoy their comedy more physical than intellectual in nature.

man vs bee is streaming on Netflix now.

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