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‘Queen Bees’ Review: Mean Girls on Social Security

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“Queen Bees”, directed by Michael Lembeck, shows a senior citizen who is on the phone with his cell phone, perhaps for the first time in a cinema. The senior citizen in question is Helen, played by Ellen Burstyn, an independent woman who calls the senior housing center, which keeps sending her brochures. She emphatically tells the representative that she will not leave her house, which is pleasant but feels a little empty.

The problem is, she keeps locking herself out of her house. This habit and Helen’s isolation as a widow worries her grandson Peter (Matthew Barnes) and perhaps her daughter Laura (Elizabeth Mitchell). When a kitchen fire needs repairing, Helen is forced to move into this residential center – which she keeps insisting that it will be a temporary base.

Here she meets the film’s “Queen Bees”, a trio of imperious women led by Janet (Jane Curtin), Sally (Loretta Devine) and Margot (Ann-Margret) who run the community’s card room and cafeteria. When Sally tries to convince Helen to ingratiate herself with these rulers, Helen protests that this is not a high school. Sally replies that it’s worse; We graduate in high school. Here we die. “

You don’t need to make a “Mean Girls” comparison like the dialogues in the film do. “Queen Bees” is a thoroughly conventional comedy drama right down to its sugar-sweet score by Walter Murphy. (Yes, the “A Fifth of Beethoven” guy.) Even so, it doesn’t waste its impeccable cast, which includes Christopher Lloyd and a remarkably playful James Caan as Helen’s love interests. Each of these loyal followers brings more than just charisma to their roles, and when the writing itself shows a bit of a snapshot (which, admittedly, doesn’t happen that often) the cast bites straight into it.

Queen bee
Rated PG-13 for Language, Senior Issues. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes. In cinemas and to rent or buy on Apple TV, Vudu and other streaming platforms and pay-TV operators.

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Robert Dunfee