on February 8, 2004
I was told, many years ago, that if one did not have anything nice to say, one should say nothing at all. Can anyone imagine that rule being followed on Amazon? The board would be empty, pretty much. The problems with "honey" stick out like very sore thumbs, one can see every blemish during the previews, even on the poster. It seems the pretty young idealist from New York, I think it's New York, the film credits say Canada, a really urban Canada perhaps, teaches hip hop at "The Center", you know, one of those lovable, grimy city dwellings that cater to talented, racially diverse groups of young people who just gotta dance. Good thing too, because if ya don't dance in "The hood" ya gonna get "dusted" or Smoked" or whatever. There is only one way out kids, sing, dance and dance some more, if you are very lucky the local idealist hottie will be teaching the "Moves". The hottie in question is, debatably, the hottest hottie in all of Hottietown ( I don't know if this is Hottietown USA or Canada, it really doesn't matter). Jessica Alba is best known as the Sci Fi Hottie on "Dark Angel", I never saw the show, but I certainly saw Ms. Alba in the magazine ads and the "Got Milk" ads. Damn she's hot. Really hot. But this is the movies and so on we go with the endless roll call of Hollywood clichés, got a paper and pencil?, let's have the roll call.
1. Drop dead beautiful idealistic young hottie (I know that's redundant and I don't care)
2. Group of adorable scamps who are going to wind up in jail or the NBA of they don't get there big break dancing, singing, whatever.
3. Evil rich guy who wants to A. Tear down the beloved building where the crucial practice take place. B, seduce and destroy innocent hottie for his own nefarious purposes. C. Seduce and destroy adorable scamps recruiting them to a life of crime and bad dance numbers.
4. Colorful local characters with hearts of gold, sassy girlfriends, lovable barber and numerous characters recycled from "The Jefferson's" and "That's My Mamma" (yes I am that old, and who asked you anyway?)
5. Cliffhanger scenario where all will be lost if some large amounts of money are not raised just in time.
6. And of course the evil "other dancer" who seems ready to take Honey's spot when Honey refuses to do the casting couch hustle with the evil rich guy.
They used every toy in the box. Albas mother, a retired hottie, has noble ideas for her daughter, but is clueless as can be, at one point she actually says "You are 22 years old...you don't know what you want", to there credit, no one in the cast burst out laughing, the same cannot be said for the audience. As the time is running out and the noble Alba is faced with certain ruin if she can't come up with the cash, she is forced to resort to desperate means to raise the funds. I promise I won't give away the ending. Let's just say that it involves lots of adorable scamps handing out leaflets with the word "Benefit" on them, and the noble barber comes across with a place to perform (there were no barns available I guess), oh yeah and what movie like this would be complete without the established "big Star" coming to the rescue at the end. Anyone old enough to remember the Brady Bunch TV show will know that like Davey Jones, of the monkees fame, another celebrity with a big heart and a big name will suddenly;y materialize and save the day. Missy Eliot steals every scene she's in, she is easily the best part of this film, telling the evil dancer to "call MC Hammer and tell him you been stealing his moves" Ha Ha Ha, that never gets old. She could have said "Vanilla Ice" too, that would have been better, I think. But like in days of yore the lovable, energetic cast give it all they've got. They do handsprings and twirl around a lot and dance there little hearts out, gee I wonder if, in the end, Honey will triumph, and the new center will stay and "lil Romeo will see that the "home boys" he thought "had his back" were really just "wack" after all and will there be a lotta dancin and smilin during the end credits? I promised I wouldn't give away the ending and I won't. It would be easy to be critical of this film for the very same reason it should be praised. Given a choice I prefer that the glass be half full then empty. Even if we have seen this cornball story told a hundred times, there is always a generation of PG13 young people who will want to know that you don't have to sleep with someone to get ahead (it doesn't hurt to wear tiny tank tops that look like they were painted on though)that crime really does not pay, that people can overcome adversity (as long as they look really really hot and can dance). So what if we've seen it, perhaps some other people haven't, this will never go out of style and perhaps it never should.
on October 29, 2005
In this cute movie about a dancer who makes her dreams come true, Jessica Alba plays the title character named Honey danielles, a girl who works a few crumby jobs like a CD store employee but has a true desire to be a choreographer. She goes to tryouts galore but never makes it until one man named Michael Ellis who is a music video producer asks her to work as a backup dancer in his jadakiss music video. Honey jumps at the chance but soon finds out that the media world only wants one thing, sex, and she doesn't want to go that far for work. Because of her virtue, she gets blacklisted from the music video industry and has to make a new name for herself.
Jessica Alba is as cute as she has ever been but is still sexy. She come off as a female who wont give up her morals just to get money and fame. She helps out a kid in need (Lil Romeo) and helps him stay out of trouble.
In all, Honey may have its cheesy moments, but it is a cute film that will leave you with a smile on your face.
It seems that about once each decade there is a dance movie that captures the popular imagination, an "Honey" is definitely an attempt to be in the mold of "Saturday Night Fever," "Flashdance," and "Dirty Dancing." Unfortunately while "Honey" is entertaining, and has some minor moments with regards to the dancing, it is not going to end up being in the league of those contemporary classics. Still, from the dancing perspective, "Honey" does come out ahead of "Save the Last Dance," but that is because Jessica Alba does more of the actual dancing than Julia Styles. However, she does not do enough of it and the routines are not as exciting as they should be.
The story is rather incidental, because it is just an excuse to have people legitimately dancing as opposed to the musical tradition where people suddenly break into song and dance. Honey Daniels (Alba) wants to be a dancer. She works at a record store by dance and tends bar at a club at night, and when she goes off shift she struts her stuff on the dance floor. Honey also finds time to teach hip-hop dance classes at the local center. A toadie working for big name video director Michael Ellis (David Moscow) records her on the dance floor and he brings her in to save the day on a video shoot. The next thing we know Honey is not just dancing, she's doing choreography. Her big dream is not to be the next Paula Abdul, but to open up a real dance studio for the kids in the hood. Ellis derails Honey's plains, but the girl has got spunk, and, as everybody who has seen the ads for this movie knows, a pretty impressive guardian angel. The problem with the story is the director character of Michael Ellis. His idea of directing is a joke and I find it hard to believe that he is fooling every single one of these artists, except for the fact the story got written that way. But none of that would have mattered if the dancing had been presented a lot better.
The character of Honey has lots of minor interpersonal problems that provide some breadth but not true depth of character, such as getting successful while staying tight with her best girl Gina (Joy Bryant), putting up with all the negative vibes from her mother (Lonette McKee), hooking up with Chaz (Mekhi Phifer) the barber, and keeping an eye out for brothers Benny (Lil' Romeo) and Raymond (Zachary Williams), who are a couple of at risk kids in the neighborhood. For those who showed up to see what Jessica Alba is like without the barcode they will see some strong similarities with Max from "Dark Angel" in that Alba's best moments are when she is acting the big sister. Whether dealing with escapees from Manticore or the kids in the hood, she connects with them. Her best scenes are with the kids and her dance class.
The fault with this movie is not with the cast or even with the writers, the latter being excused because if you want to make a good dance movie the story is not as important as the actual dancing, so you if you want to go back and pull out the Andy and Judy bit about the kids putting on a show, that is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem with "Honey" is that the dancing is not as great as it should be. Honey is involved in a bunch of music videos, all of which involve real hip hop stars including Tweet, Ginuwine, Shawn Desman, Jadakiss & Sheek, Rodney Jerkins, and Silkk. But the presentation of the dancing almost always is less than inspiring. The initial scenes of Honey in the club set up things nicely, but director Bille Woodruff, a popular video director, must have really been aware that this was a big screen motion picture because there are only bits and pieces of flair for most of the movie. The fault is not with the choreography of Luther A. Brown and Laurie Ann Gibson, but with the way Woodruff is presenting things. We never seem to be getting an entire dance routine, just bits and pieces. The best set piece is probably the one with Ginuwine and the kids, but all we get is part of a rehearsal and the camera angles and cuts do little to enhance our enjoyment of the routine.
Another part of the problem is that halfway through the film, Alba pretty much stops dancing as she turns into a choreographer. A great dance movie is predicated on the star doing the dancing, whether we are talking Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly or John Travolta and Patrick Swayze. Jennifer Beals can fool us with a body double, but that is not going to work twice, as Julia Stiles discovered. The proof of the pudding here is in the final credits, where we get to see a complete music video ("directed" by "Honey Daniels") and we are all sitting in the theater saying, "Yeah, we wanted to see more stuff like that!" A lot of people are going to enjoy this film, but most of those people are going to know that this could have been a lot better and that the fault here is not that of Alba but of Woodruff. How ironic that the credits for this film show us how what had been good could have been great.
Is mine for Jessica Alba! HONEY was filled with memorable dancers and a clutch of tunes that all sort of sound the same but have enough difference between them to disti8nghuish them-just. Genuwine seemed like a creep because he accepted Katrina instead of Honey as a choreographer, I can't understand why Genuwine got himself talked into accepting a part which shows him to be so heartless he disappoints a whole community center's worth of little kids
By contrast, Tweet, who doesn't seem like she has much talent, shows that at any rate she's full of heart by showing up and paying money to get into Honey's big dance benefit, even after Honey's been blackballed out of the music video business by a jealous ex lover.
Lil Romeo showed some spunk as Benny, the little boy who would rather be a drug dealer than a dancer, for the movie
Jessica Alba is so beautiful and sweet in this movie you can easily believe she is the daughter of Lonette McKee, once the most beautiful woman in the movies and even here, at age 50 or so, still fantastic looking. Poor Lonette is probably wondering why she doesn't get the plum parts she used to in such films as COTTON CLUB and MALCOLM X but she's got nothing to be ashamed about! Her fans have never forgotten her crooning "How Long Has This Been Going On?" in ROUND MIDNIGHT and we will never will! What they should have done in HONEY is have a duet with Lonette McKee and Missy Elliott.
Meanwhile Mekhi Phifer is adorable as the lovesick barber who clawed his way outta the gangs, and as for David Moscow (who plays Michael, the hyorndog viedo director), he was so cute in BIG and NEWSIES that we hope this turn towards sexual harassment is just a momentary aberration on his part.
The final number, "I Believe," is just as good as the climax "I Sing The Body Electric" in FAME. If only Jessica Alba danced in it my happiness would be complete,
The movie has every cliche under the sun but I wouldn't have it any other way. I just wonder about one thing, why the head gangster (BB, played by Wes Williams), who threatens to make life miserable for Honey and Chaz doesn't do anything beyond making empty threats. I thought at the very least he would have had one of the child gang members killed or the barber shop torched, or, well, I don't want to disappoint fellow viewers any more than we already are.
on May 13, 2006
Great cast but Jessica Alba earns the movie the 5 stars, she did great and the movie is great because of her (and the rest of the cast) no matter what anyone says.
It's a very fun movie, ALL THAT MATTERS!!
If you like hip hop and you like a movie that has a positive message, you'll love the movie.
If not, you'll probably still like it unless you're too stubborn to admit it.
Thanks to all that made the movie!! You earned your money!
on March 18, 2016
I own this movie and have watched it many times. It is loaded with really talented kids. I haven't watched it in many years, but a few weeks ago decided to dig it out. Really a great movie. Fun to watch all the dancing!
on January 26, 2005
I have to admit, I loved this movie. Sure, it doesn't take brains to watch it, but it's easy to watch, and enjoyable too. It's along the lines of Save The Last Dance too. I'm never going to be a dancer; I don't have the discipline or the patience, or the body for that matter, but I still love these movies. The soundtrack needs to be played blaring, without anyone else in the house, which I did today.
I hadn't previously heard of Jessica Alba, I only knew she's in a TV series called Dark Angel, and she's going to be in the Fantastic Four movie? (How do I pick this stuff up?!) She was bubbly, and great to watch though, although I preferred her hair straight, as it was on the cover. I loved the cover for this DVD, it instantly makes you want to pick it up & buy it - plus it looks Holly Valance on the cover.
I wasn't so keen on Lil' Romeo being in it, he's not that big over here in the UK, although I see he appeared in Jo-Jo's last video. Lil' Romeo grew two inches and his voice deepened before shooting completed. In the scene where Benny and Raymond go to class and Honey says that she has to go to a video shoot, Romeo had to stand with his legs far apart in order to appear shorter, because he was as tall as Jessica Alba.
OK, so quite a few people are slating this movie, but they're probably expecting it to be some kind of gritty, realistic movie, when really it's for people who love to dance - or who love to watch it. There's some quibbles about this movie: there's not a single dramatic moment, and the setbacks come right on cue - Lil' Romeo's character gets arrested for example. The characters are straight on the train from Cliches Central, from the saintly title character of Honey, to the sexually predatory rival dancer. And I'm sorry, but no music video ever has the choreographer's name on it. It's just the movie's way of showing Honey Daniels did become famous. There's a lot of R'n'B cameos in it, although I know who Missy Elliot is, I was scratching my head when it came to a lassie called Tweet, or Genuine. There's also a love story, with Mekhi Phifer as the barber, basketball playing love interest, but the story is barely shown, apart from a few scenes with lingering looks, and chaste pecks.
This is one of those films which is always going to be compared to others, such as Save The Last Dance, Dirty Dancing, Coyote Ugly or Glitter, and sure it's not original, and it's totally formulaic, but it's great fun.
on August 12, 2013
I loved this movie and loved the music. LIttle Romeo was magnificent, as were the other actors and actresses. Truly a must-have for dance and hip-hop fans, although I am well-passed that age-group, which goes to show if someone 66 can love, this I'm sure people much, much younger can too.
on August 11, 2016
Sure, the general concept of this movie has been used before. However, Jessica Alba's performance is delightful. She portrays an independent, ethical, talented, selfless young woman who loves her neighborhood and wants to help the children living there who face difficult situations.
The kids are adorable, the choreography is great, there's no gratuitous sex (some cursing) and the message is positive. Very sweet movie!
on October 1, 2013
Normally, I am not a Jessica Alba fan. Nothing against her, just not really a fan. However, I love her in 'Honey'. Not only do I find her character believable but she looks hott too. Also, the story line is pretty great.