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The Beekeeper Review: The Buzz Isn’t Great

“The Beekeeper” opens with Clay taking care of bees on Eloise Parker’s (Phylicia Rashad) remote land. Though he’s awkward and not especially talkative, she still invites him over for dinner. In fact, according to Clay, she’s the only person who’s ever taken care of him, making her suicide after falling for a phishing scheme hard for him to handle. Parker’s daughter Verona (Emmy Raver-Lampman), an FBI agent, is understandably upset about her mother’s death too, and as eager as Clay to find out why she died. The two have very different ways of going about it, however. While Clay is eager to kick ass until he reaches the top of the organization responsible for what happened, Verona is more willing to take a measured approach that employs things like the rule of law. That puts the two on something of a collision course.

If that weren’t enough, more than a few people are gunning for Clay. Though Clay used his skills as part of the organization called the Beekeepers for years, he’s now retired. So while he’s doing what he was trained to do, he’s not doing it under the Beekeepers’ authorization. That causes everyone from the FBI to the CIA to the Beekeepers themselves to look for him. Of course, none of them are any match for Clay, who is the best of the best at what he does — even better than the insane Beekeeper with a giant gun strapped to the back of her truck who’s sent after him.

While Clay’s skills are never in doubt, there are still too many scenes woven into the movie to make sure the plot is sticking together, and that may be this film’s biggest flaw. That’s especially true for sequences with Verona and her partner, Matt Wiley (Bobby Naderi), as the two follow Clay’s antics from afar and then up close. That said, the two are funny together, which makes the characters more palatable, if not entirely necessary.

Then there are the sequences of the people carrying out the phishing scam. While you might think they’re small actors working in tiny offices, in this movie they’ve gone corporate with at least two offices in the Boston area, lots of people at desks, and a de-facto frontman hyping everyone up so they can steal old people’s money with a lot of gusto. This defies logic, especially when Verona notes that her team hasn’t been able to make much headway in finding the perpetrators of this scheme.

The phishing scam is masterminded by Derek Danforth (Josh Hutcherson), the 28-year-old nepo baby who’s just taken over as the head of Danforth Enterprises because his mother (Jemma Redgrave) has been sworn in as the president of the United States. This leaves a problem for Jeremy Irons as Wallace Westwyld, the head of Danforth Enterprises’ security detail and the man in charge of keeping Derek safe. Wallace doesn’t like Derek, who rides around the office on a skateboard and doesn’t appear to do much but enjoy the company’s perks, but he admires Derek’s mother, and because of her, he does what he can to keep Derek safe. Both men, in very different ways, are funny in their roles: Hutcherson because Derek is so spoiled that it’s disgusting, and Irons because Wallace is so unimpressed by Derek that his delivery drips with barely concealed sarcasm.

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