Movie Reviews: Honey




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      Universal (1 hr. 44. min.)
     A tough sexy dancer from the inner city, becomes a successful music video choreographer.
     Jessica Alba, Mekhi Phifer, Joy Bryant, L'il Romeo
Bottom Line:


"Honey," the tough and sexy hip-hop drama starring everybody’s favorite "Dark Angel," Jessica Alba, has film critics wondering if "Glitter," that horrible dance movie starring Mariah Carey, wasn’t so bad after all.

CNN’s film critic is seriously considering republishing her "Glitter" review and substituting the word dancer for singer in appropriate places, and sticking Alba’s name in places where Mariah Carey’s appears. Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune feels the filmmakers bravely answered moviegoer’s demands and remade "Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo." The question is why?

The answer is in the history of the film production. "Honey" was headed for trouble from the outset. Universal Studios had bumped "Honey’s" opening date several times. Which more often that not, is a sure sign of trouble -- either on the production end, or the studio doesn’t have faith in the film. Meaning, smelling a bad picture, Universal probably wanted to open "Honey" during a slow "blockbuster-free" weekend.

As with "Glitter," the film’s heroine, Honey Daniels is a struggling working-class woman trying to make it in the cutthroat music industry. The filmmaker’s apparent mistake is they relied on "Glitter’s" screenwriter to come in and polish the script.

In comparison, that’s changing the captain on the Titanic during the last half hour. Which is ironic when you think "Titanic" had its opening day pushed back several times. However, it went on to become Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster. Don’t look for that to happen with "Honey" in any shape or form.

The filmmakers were smart enough to follow the standard teen movie formula which has stood the test of time:

Find a misunderstood teen who dreams of opening their own (fill in the blank) let’s just say dance studio for the sake of an argument. Have the teen meet some other talented youths looking for an outlet to express their creative side. (Again, for the sake of an argument, let’s say our hero meets some break dancin’ street kids whose dilapidated community center has been shut down by the city.)

In search of a place to perform, they find a church and put on a show to raise money for the community center. Of course along the way, the hero is seduced by the dark side (in this case it’s corporate business) but eventually our hero discovers the allure of the bright lights is not for her. So she returns to her roots and the people who love her. Of course the parents who were boobs in the beginning of the film have now miraculously come around to the kid’s way of thinking. And there you have it.

Suspense is not the defining description in these flicks. But high energy is with hip-hop and R&B artist Missy Elliott, Ginuwine and Jadakiss hoping to turn the film up a notch higher than "Glitter." They do. Plus Alba is an actress, whereas, Carey is a singer trying to act. On its opening weekend, "Honey" pulled in $14 million and came in second behind Tom Cruise's "The Last Samurai," ($24 million). Proving that at the end of the day, movies like "Honey" are like Trix cereal. They’re for kids, not cranky film critics.



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