Parents' Guide to

Queen Bees

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Retiree romcom has wine, weed, and wink-wink humor.

Movie PG-13 2021 100 minutes
Queen Bees Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Just like the card game that brings its characters together, this run-of-the-mill film could have an upside: providing a bridge for conversation between generations. But while high schoolers might get a kick out of Queen Bees' "Mean Girls for grandmas" premise, it's also disheartening to realize that we could go through our entire lives only to re-experience the high school social system that most of us couldn't wait to escape. And the "mean girls" angle isn't really as fresh as it feels: Remember when they used to be called "old biddies"? The clique is made up of archetypes straight out of The Golden Girls: snippy, intolerant leader Janet (Jane Curtin), lusty Margo (Ann-Margret), and sweet and sensitive Sally (Loretta Devine). Still, teens might enjoy the fact that Helen's grandson (Matthew Barnes) is her ally, and it's her daughter Laura (Elizabeth Mitchell) who's overbearing and trying to run her mom's life. That role reversal -- seeing the daughter being told to step back and let her mom just live her life -- is a different take.

Director Michael Lembeck is an old hand at TV comedies, with a few children's films in between (The Santa Clause 2 and 3, The Tooth Fairy), so perhaps it's not surprising that his comedy about older adults has a somewhat misleading kiddo-welcoming sheen. The music, the lighting, and the setups all feel family friendly, and the effort does result in a multigenerational film that teens can watch with the grandparents without hitting too much iffy content. But even if you can put aside Grandma calling another woman a "bitch" and the residents of a retirement village behaving more like rabbits than spring chickens, the storyline just doesn't have much to offer children. Though at least they can take away the idea that trying new things can lead to meeting new people.

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