The thing about honey is that it’s not just sweet, but awfully gooey.
That goes for the new film “The Secret Life of Bees,” too. Is the sweetness worth the stickiness in this maudlin “American Sisterhood of the Traveling Green Tomatoes”?
It’s a writerly coming-of-age piece set in the Civil Rights summer in South Carolina. But it’s also precious, self-conscious, a hug you give at arm’s length.
Dakota Fanning, awkwardly leaving her child star days behind, is Lily, a 14 year-old whose last memory of her mother (Amy Adams) is of accidentally shooting her during a fight between her parents. Her sullen redneck doesn’t know how to cope with her. Only Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson), the housekeeper, understands.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 has just passed and Rosaleen, brimming with pride, takes Lily with her to town so that she can register to vote and buy Lily her first training bra. Racists beat Rosaleen, and she and Lily flee to a town Lily knows only because its name is scribbled on the back of a picture of her mom.
That’s where she meets the Boatwright sisters, bee-keepers, women of culture and kindness.
For all the goo, “Bees” is still a wholesome and warm film about a girl finding acceptance at a time when black America was doing the same.
– By Roger Moore, The Orlando Sentinel
Take one part Judd Apatow, blend in two parts Kevin Smith, and you have “Sex Drive,” writer-director Sean Anders’ contribution to the gross-acting- teen-coming-of- age genre.
Josh Zuckerman stars as Ian, the high-school geek virgin (like that’s such a minority) who creates an alternative identity online as a college football stud. His bluff is called when, one night, the object of his online affection invites him to Nashville to – go all the way!
So he “borrows” the muscle car owned by his macho older brother (played near the top by James Marsden), accompanied by his best friends – the unaccountably cool Lance (Clark Duke) and Ian’s own female BFF Felicia (Amanda Crew).
Guess what happens? Or, more to the point, what doesn’t? Oh, there are car races, Amish raves, breakdowns and lots of crises of conscience.
But not much of this makes a whole lot of sense. And unlike other, better films – “Superbad” and “Clerks” come to mind – it doesn’t have a whole lot of style either.
– By Dan Webster