The Bumblebee Flies Anyway

on January 01, 2000 by Wade Major
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   In light of the lowest-common-denominator mentality with which the current trend of youth-oriented pictures has been conceived, it's a relief to see teenage actors embrace material as sensitive and mature as "The Bumblebee Flies Anyway."
   In many ways reminiscent of Neal Jimenez's 1991 independent success "The Waterdance," "The Bumblebee Flies Anyway" explores the chemistry and camaraderie between a group of youths who meet at a medical facility for the terminally ill. Barney Snow (Elijah Wood) is the story's central figure and the sole patient at the facility who is not afflicted with a mortal illness, but instead suffers from amnesia. Barney's only memories are fragments of an auto accident in which he seems to have been involved.
   As the subject of an experimental therapy intended to help restore his past, Barney is basically little more than a willing lab rat, although the friendship of Dr. Marie Harriman (Janeane Garofalo) helps ease some of the anxiety. Friendships with other kids soon follow, including an unlikely bond with a cantankerous cancer patient named Mazzo (Joseph Perrino), a once-handsome, wealthy and athletic boy embittered by his misfortune. Mazzo's twin sister Cassie (Rachael Leigh Cook) also enters the picture, giving Barney not only friendship, but a glimmer of romance in the face of an uncertain future.
   In truth, if not for the cast, "The Bumblebee Flies Anyway" would be indistinguishable from an above-average after-school special. But the care and earnestness with which cast and crew have constructed the story are hard to overlook, giving an otherwise ordinary story an extraordinary sense of honesty.    Starring Elijah Wood, Janeane Garofalo, Rachael Leigh Cook and Roger Rees. Directed by Martin Duffy. Written by Jennifer Sarja. Produced by Steven Haft. An Artisan release. Drama. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements. Running time: 95 min.
Tags: Elijah Wood, Janeane Garofalo, Rachael Leigh Cook, Roger Rees. Directed by Martin Duffy. Written by Jennifer Sarja. Produced by Steven Haft. An Artisan release. Drama
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