Saturday 9 March 2024

Movie Review: Queen Bees (2021)

Genre: Geriatric Romantic Comedy  
Director: Michael Lembeck  
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, James Caan, Jane Curtin, Ann-Margret, Christopher Lloyd, Loretta Devine, Elizabeth Mitchell  
Running Time: 100 minutes  

Synopsis: Helen Wilson (Ellen Burstyn) is in her golden years and insists on maintaining her independence. She enjoys the company of her grandson (Matthew Barnes), but has a difficult relationship with her daughter Laura (Elizabeth Mitchell). A house fire forces Helen to temporarily relocate to a retirement home, where she tangles with a clique of residents led by the unfriendly Janet (Jane Curtin). She is also wooed by Dan (James Caan), who is seeking a late-life romance.

What Works Well: The friction between Helen and her career daughter Laura is built upon stubbornness, mutual impatience, and miscommunication, sharply capturing common frustrations between the elderly and their grown children.

What Does Not Work As Well: The bland script unconvincingly re-imagines the retirement home as the second coming of high school, with the aesthetics and energy levels of middling television fare. Tired rom-com cliches including petty jealousies and conniving behaviour are transposed to mature adults who should know better, emotions are transmitted with all the authenticity of plastic, and the attempts at humour are a cringey demonstration of ineptitude.

Conclusion: Screen legends deserve more dignified late-career material than this.

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