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

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

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...

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.