The gang behind "Bee Movie" pulled out all the stops last night here in New York City as they showed about 30 minutes of footage from their November release in the hopes of getting the media buzzing (I'm sorry, really I am). I was there and in between snapping photos of Renee Zellweger chatting with Sarah Jessica Parker and loitering next to the latter star for close to 45 minutes I actually saw some worthwhile stuff.
"Bee Movie," of course, represents Jerry Seinfeld's long awaited return to the spotlight. DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg introduced the big guy himself at the ceremony as well as three of Jerry's big name co-stars. Renee Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, and Chris Rock joined Seinfeld in a small screening room as MTV News got a chance to peek at a good portion of the film.
We'll file a more in-depth report on what we saw soon, but in the meantime here's what you need to know from last night's festivities:
-- Seinfeld withdrawal has come to an end! Yes, this film plays at times like a bizarre "Seinfeld" episode. You thought it was odd when George pretended to be a marine biologist? Try Jerry as a worker bee named Barry who falls for a human woman, a florist by the name of Vanessa (Zellweger). Throw in Patrick Warburton (yes, Puddy is back!) as Vanessa's blow-hard boyfriend and you have the makings of a very odd love triangle.
-- Jerry didn't phone this one in. Well he did, kinda. Katzenberg and Seinfeld spoke at length about a sophisticated kind of video conferenceing that was employed for the film that basically convinced Jerry to spend four years of his life on the flick. Seinfeld worked most of the time from his New York office but could create a virtual writer's room with his LA colleagues thanks to the advanced technology. Frankly I'm not exactly sure how what they were describing was different than a typical video conference call but I trust their enthusiasm.
-- This one's got at least two celebrity cameos that work. I'm not counting the brief scene with Larry King we saw that almost sorta plays. What I am counting are hysterical bits with Ray Liotta and Sting playing themselves in a courtroom scene that looked like it was left on the cutting room floor of "A Civil Action." Liotta in particular kills it. Also, look for Oprah Winfrey as a judge in the aforementioned scene.
-- This one isn't just for kids. Yes, "Bee Movie" features gorgeous animation and soft colors galore for the kids but the humor plays for adults. It certainly did for this insider-y NYC crowd (yes, that was Anderson Cooper sitting behind me). I'll put it this way, a punchline that included "Italian Vogue" played like gangbusters.
-- Renee Zellweger finds the footage hysterical. How do I know this? Her adorably piercing cackle cut through the room like a knife with nearly every punchline. This isn't to say Renee didn't have good reason to laugh. Her character in particular is charmingly deranged. Vanessa seems to truly have a thing for this little bee played by Jerry.
-- Matthew Broderick acknowledged that his character's relation with Jerry's in the film mirrors somewhat their actual friendship. Broderick told me he has talked to Jerry over the years about dabbling in live-action films.
-- I spoke to Katzenberg at the reception and he told me he's offered Jerry roles in animated films a number of times over the years and in fact nearly convinced him to do one about five years ago. What was it? "Shrek"? "Shark Tale"? He wouldn't tell.
Excited for Jerry Seinfeld's big-screen venture? Or are you planning on sticking to the re-runs? Weigh in below.