After watching Honey, one thing is immediately clear. Jessica Alba has a great body, and a superhumanly flat stomach. And the fact that this is the most prominent feature of the film is not a good sign. Honey is the latest in a long line of films that use the exact same formula, usually with a different twist. Glitter and Coyote Ugly are two examples. This time, the spin is that Alba (Paranoid, Idle Hands), as Honey Daniels, wants to make it big in the world of hip-hop dance. Alba, who shot to fame in James Cameron's Dark Angel, fares decently in her first outing as a film star. She does all her own dancing and has a nice appeal that combines the girl-next-door with the ultra-hot unattainable babe, but the utter predictability and bad script ruin most of her presence.
Honey gets her break when video director Michael Ellis (David Moscow, Just Married, Riding in Cars with Boys) sees a video of her dancing in a club. He hires her to dance in one of his videos, and she impresses him so much that he lets her choreograph it. This leads to more video jobs, and Honey, who lives in a run-down New York neighborhood, finds herself in a new world. What she doesn't realize is that Ellis wants to get into her pants, and is using the jobs to create a sense of dependence. When she does realize this, it gives Moscow the chance to utter the lamest piece of dialogue in the entire film, courtesy of Alonzo Brown and Kim Watson (Max's Summer Vacation).
Meanwhile, other elements of Honey's life fall to the wayside. Her best friend Gina (Joy Bryant, Antwone Fisher, Showtime) feels marginalized as Honey gets busier. There is a budding, and boring romance with Chaz (Mekhi Phifer, 8 Mile, Paid in Full). Honey left her job teaching hip-hop at a local youth center run by her mother (who disapproves of Honey's hip-hop and wants her to do something more productive), and that leaves Benny (Lil' Romeo) and his brother Raymond (Zachary Isaiah Williams, Star Trek: Insurrection) without anything to do. Benny is entering adolescence, and dancing keeps him out of the clutches of a local drug dealer. Williams is there primarily for the cute factor. The most enjoyable performance comes from Missy Elliot (Pootie Tang), who, unfortunately, is in Honey for only a few minutes. She brings a feeling of life absent from nearly every other actor.
Aside from some of its dialogue, there is nothing inherently bad about Honey. It just mines an old formula and then does nothing original with it. As the story progresses, hip-hop stars make cameos as themselves and Benny and Raymond's story becomes more important. The only real life in Honey comes from the dance scenes. They are energetic, lively, and sensual, unlike pretty much everything else in the movie. It makes sense, because director Bille Woodruff has a background in music videos. And it's best to do what one knows best, which explains why there are so many videos here. Honey is just one of those movies that are neither good nor bad, just forgettable. The only good thing that probably come out of it is that Alba's profile is now higher, which should lead to some more jobs for her.
|Haro Rates It: Not That Good.|
|1 hour, 44 minutes, Rated PG-13 for drug content and some sexual references.|
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