Queen Bees Parent Guide
The studio should market this film as a sleep aid rather than as entertainment.
Parent Movie Review
Helen (Ellen Burstyn) has no intentions of selling her home and moving into a retirement community, no matter what her nosey daughter, Laura (Elizabeth Mitchell), has to say about it. Until, that is, she accidentally locks herself out of her house while cooking dinner and burns down her kitchen. Unwilling to live with Laura during the repairs, she agrees to spend a month in the Pine Grove facility. Once there, Helen finds that seniors homes are much like high school: cliquey and ridiculous, but without the hope of graduation. The resident popular group, spearheaded by the rude and controlling Janet (Jane Curtin) certainly seems intent on making her stay at Pine Grove as unpleasant as possible – but every cloud has a silver lining. In this case, the silver lining is Dan (James Caan), a charming resident who seems intent on giving Helen a good reason to stay…
That description should sound pretty familiar. This is, intentionally (I suspect) Mean Girls on Geritol. Unfortunately, the Geritol seems to have reacted poorly with the plot, and the movie is pretty constipated as a result. It isn’t aggressively terrible or infuriating or anything like that, but it is slow and more than a little dull. Maybe the filmmakers’ intention was to market this as a sleep-aid to the elderly. If that’s the case, it’s hugely effective. I finished the movie half an hour ago and I’m still yawning.
I suppose if you have the patience (or the good sense to grab a quick nap in the slow parts), there’s a cute little romantic comedy in here…somewhere. But Queen Bees is trying to run half a dozen storylines at the same time, and none of them feel fully developed when the credits roll. Just for starters, the plot includes Helen’s relationship with her daughter, Helen’s relationship with her grandson Peter (Matthew Barnes), Helen’s relationship with Dan, Margot’s (Ann-Margret) relationship with Arthur (Christopher Lloyd), Janet’s relationships with…everybody, and Sally’s medical issues. The problem is that the movie just doesn’t have the time to wrap these up properly, and some of them just get brought up only to be more or less forgotten as the story concludes. Maybe this was an attempt to give the audience an idea of what aging and memory loss feel like, but if so, that was a waste of time. I can already barely remember my own name when I wake up; I don’t need dangling plotlines to remind me that I have a few screws loose.
Unlike Mean Girls, there isn’t all that much content for viewers to be concerned about. Profanity is almost non-existent, and even the odd sex joke doesn’t go terribly far. This is the kind of movie you could take your grandmother to – which is good, because that’s the only real audience I can see for a movie like this. Maybe you just have to live in one of these communities for it to be amusing, or maybe I’m too young. But I’d like to put forward the possibility that the movie just isn’t all that funny. And for what they’re charging to watch it digitally at the moment, you can do a whole lot better. Maybe by the time you’re in a senior facility yourself the movie will be free and funnier…but that’s a big maybe.Directed by Michael Lembeck. Starring Ellen Burstyn, James Caan, and Christopher Lloyd. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release June 11, 2021. Updated June 12, 2021
Watch the trailer for Queen Bees
Rating & Content Info
Why is Queen Bees rated PG-13? Queen Bees is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for drug use, suggestive material and some language.
Violence: A person is kicked and sat on.
Sexual Content: There are several sexual jokes and references to anatomy and erectile dysfunction medication. People are seen playing strip poker without nudity.
Profanity: There are occasional mild profanities and infrequent use of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are shown drinking socially and, on one occasion, smoking marijuana in a medical context.
Page last updated June 12, 2021
Queen Bees Parents' Guide
Helen is very resistant to the idea of moving into a senior living facility. Why? What are some reasons it would be good for her? How does she come to recognize her own limits? Why is it so difficult to acknowledge our limitations?
Related home video titles:
If you enjoy films about seniors, Poms sees Diane Keaton forming a cheering squad at their retirement community. Senior Moment, starring William Shatner and Christopher Lloyd, features a similar portrayal of ageing with even more failed jokes. A group of retired musicians live in a retirement home for musicians and old rivalries and longings come to the fore in Quartet.