Burt's Buzz (2014)
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Critic Reviews for Burt's Buzz
In its tight focus on the man, and its leisurely pace, the film creates an intriguing portrait of a figure caught between the Sixties and the present, and the self and the image.
Shavitz is undoubtedly an intriguing fellow, but "Burt's Buzz" never quite finds what makes him tick.
Shapiro (How to Start Your Own Country) lets the story play out in a meandering fashion that echoes Shavitz's approach to life.
The film leaves the impression that it's telling the version of its subject's life that he wants us to hear.
A certain hirsute fellow in an engineer's cap, the one whose enigmatic kisser graces the Burt's Bees logo, is, it turns out, the real deal. And he's more of a character than any marketing guru could invent.
Audience Reviews for Burt's Buzz
Full review at WordsonFilms.com While the film does seem to lack a certain focused perspective and may even be a tad overfond of Burt and his idiosyncrasies, there is something quietly charming, intriguing, and thoroughly watchable about Burt's Buzz. Like it's star, this single-subject documentary takes a slow and ambling approach to things and also seems hesitant to say all that it could. Still, it remains entertaining, memorable, and thought-provoking all the same. And while the film does not leave it's audiences with the sort of concentrated emotions or crystal clear viewpoints that some other documentaries do, it does contain some some truly bizarre and even some rather touching moments that are sure to stick with them long after the credits roll.
I enjoy bios of weird individuals. Rock-a-fire Explosion, Marwencol, Beauty is Embarrassing, et al. I'd throw Burt's Buzz right in that mix. Admittedly, there are some facets to the story left unexplored perhaps to the film's detriment, but I'm not sure I'd mess with a woman willing to use sexual harassment as leverage in contract negotiations.
While documentaries with a sole subject are always entertaining, director Shapiro doesn't quite know what he's asking us to take away from this film. Burt is of course an eccentric and entertaining character but most of what we see of him is verbose monologuing and dramatic long takes of him completing tasks, as if all the meaning we need comes from his lone figure against the backdrop of a bee hive. I didn't even know the motivating factor in this documentary until more than half of it was over. I think this would have been better as a short subject, or if we didn't spend all our time with Burt, listening to his trivial thoughts on subjects that have nothing to do with the business. His tether to the company he started, and the woman who took advantage of his lack of drive, was a much more interesting subject than just him as a person. While his life, choices, and history are of course interesting, we don't need to hear him spout off about random things that catch his whimsy for an agonizing amount of time.
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