Honey

"Unbearable"

Honey Review


Somehow the people at Universal Pictures got it into their heads that easy-on-the-eyes, thin-on-talent Jessica Alba (star of Fox's short-lived "Dark Angel") should be a movie star.

So apparently a room full of monkeys was recruited to write "Honey," a laughable follow-your-dreams disaster in which the actress plays a sprightly, adorably indomitable, J.Lo-inspired babe from the Bronx who becomes a music-video dance choreographer, turns down a director's demand for sex, gets black-listed, then realizes what's really important in life is opening a neighborhood dance studio for street kids.

Trite and graceless, it's supposed to be the story of the girl's struggle to make it in showbiz, but no sooner does she point at a TV and say, "Check it. That's what I'm talkin' about. I should be dancing in videos like this!" than a video director (David Moscow) sees her shaking her stuff in a club and offers her a job.

Two minutes after arriving on the set of her first video, she's promoted to lead dancer. Two scenes after that she's being recruited as a choreographer by cameo-appearance hip-hop acts like Tweet and Ginuwine, and moments later she's pitching her own concepts for videos and meeting praise from producers. ("Instead of the usual hoochies," she says with a happily blank-eyed lilt, "how about some street kids?")

In fact, the only adversity Honey faces in this entire picture comes when the hitherto nice-guy director gets an unexplained personality transplant, crudely comes on to her out of the blue and gets slapped. For what must be a whole two weeks after that, he makes sure she can't get work -- even as a dancer -- until rapper Missy Elliott (whose attitude-copping single-scene appearance is this bomb's only bright moment) demands that our heroine design dances for her next video, so the director has to come crawling back. Of course, at this point her dignity won't allow her to do anything but hold a let's-put-on-a-show fundraiser to buy an empty storefront and turn it into a studio for all the talented young dancers in the 'hood.

This predictable, ineffectually Cliffs-Note-ized storyline may actually be the least of this insipidly hackneyed movie's problems. Honey's supposedly brilliant choreography (by Laurieanne Gibson, who also plays the star's inevitable catty rival) garnered rolling laughs at a target-audience preview screening this week. It has the story structure of a coloring book in its string of episodic clichés, and it's riddled with incongruities (why does Honey suddenly have a dog half way through the movie?) that escape the autopilot awareness of first-time director Bille Woodruff, a music video veteran who clearly can't think outside four-minute snippets.

Even worse, the film is littered with the kind of stale stock characters that make you feel embarrassed for the actors deigned to play them. The promising Joy Bryant ("Antwone Fisher") is Honey's finger-snapping, "you go, girl!" best friend, and Tony-nominated Lonette McKee is Honey's disapproving mother, who actually says, "Oh, sweetie, I don't know why you can't just teach a class at a nice ballet school uptown."

It's Honey herself, however, that is the movie's most preposterous amalgam of hackneyed sweetheart-heroine characteristics. She teaches hip-hop dance classes at a dilapidated community center. She helps adolescent kids (one played by pubescent rapper Lil' Romeo) avoid the thug life while the theme music from "The Young and the Restless" plays on the soundtrack (no, I'm not kidding). She even chases a guy down the street to return a dropped wad of money -- and through it all Alba never stops smiling her angelically empty Barbie-doll smile.

There is something elusively but earnestly sweet about "Honey" that saves it from being downright despicable, which is the only reason I've given the film a half-star rating. But it can't even be said that the film has good intentions, because to have any intentions at all would have required at least a modicum of imagination -- and there's not a single nanosecond of this movie that shows any creativity at all.



Honey

Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Friday 5th December 2003

Box Office USA: $30.2M

Budget: $25M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Marc Platt Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 0.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 21%
Fresh: 24 Rotten: 91

IMDB: 5.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Honey Daniels, as Chaz, as Gina, Lil Romeo as Benny, as Michael Ellis, Zachary Isaiah Williams as Raymond, as Herself, Anthony Sherwood as Mr. Daniels, as Mrs. Daniels, as B.B., Judi Embden as Mrs. Strom, Laurieann Gibson as Katrina, Alison Sealy-Smith as Marisol, Scott Neil as Lenny, Sarah Francis as Letitia, Jull Weber as Joey, Kevin Duhaney as Otis, Brandi Ward as Choreographer, as Barber, Tracy Dawson as Assistant Director

Also starring: , ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.