The Honeymooners Movie Review

In the 1950s, "The Honeymooners" helped establishthe most rancid cliche in American comedy -- the irresponsible husbandwith the long-suffering, much smarter wife who always forgives him forbeing a selfish jackass.

Jackie Gleason and Audrey Meadows pulled it off because1) they gave a certain tenacious chemistry to their characters' head-buttingmarriage, 2) Gleason had a gift for finding humor and humanity in unsympatheticroles, and 3) it was a simpler time, when idiotic get-rich-quick schemesweren't quite such a tiresome excuse for cheap laughs.

But none of this is true of the big-screen remake starringCedric the Entertainer as conniving New York City bus driver Ralph Kramden,who spends the whole movie lying to his waitress wife Alice (GabrielleUnion) while emptying their bank account to buy an antique train car (hethinks fitting it with tires is enough to create a money-making tour bus)or to race a stray greyhound at the local track.

Cedric may split sides with his stand-up routines and politicallyincorrect topical rants in the "Barbershop"movies,but here he's sleepwalking through a routine script full of uninspiredexposition ("All we need is $20,000 for the down payment..."),stereotypical characters (loud-mouthed mother-in-law), shopworn physicalgags (cayenne pepper ends up in someone's food), contrived conflicts (Ralphhas a falling out with Ed, his dim-witted plumber best pal played by half-stonedMike Epps), pop culture references ("You're just a regular UPN sitcom,ain't 'cha, Alice?"), lucky coincidences, and insultingly easy resolutionsto all life's problems.

Forgiveness for any slight is as easy as Ed's wife tellingAlice, "You gotta admit, your man is tryin'." That might havebeen plausible if Cedric and Union had any romantic spark to give theirmarriage credibility, but these Kramdens are just another fat sitcom loserwho never changes and his young, gorgeous, savvy wife who apparently doesn'thave the self-respect to dump the schmuck.

Directed on auto-pilot by John Schultz ("LikeMike," "DriveMe Crazy"), this "Honeymooners"is the mind-numbing, half-hearted culmination of every comedy of the last50 years that considered its ending a happy one when a woman who deservesbetter takes back a insincere man who has sabotaged the relationship thenapologized, but hasn't changed.

The movie's only sparkle comes from a brief nutzo performanceby John Leguizamo as a scam-artist dog trainer who helps Ralph and Ed gettheir greyhound entered into a race that leads to the movie's climax.

Comments

The Honeymooners Rating

" Zero "

Rating: PG-13, WIDE: Friday, June 10, 2005

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