Who knows (I certainly cant pin it down) what made me want to see this movie (Honey). Perhaps it was the innocent beauty of Jessica Alba, or perhaps the lure of hip-hop and desire the view seriously authentic dance moves; or perhaps I was sucked in by the music. One thing is for sure, it wasnt the storyline. But then, I really dont think Honey was intended for mature audiences, but instead it was produced for the ever present teenage movie-goer (you know the ones with all the money) whose minds have yet to think really deep thoughts. And kudos must be given to the producers of this move for not festooning Honeys dialog with superfluous and gratuitous cursing, though the ubiquitous drug dealer theme is alive and well.
Young hipster and want-to-be professional music video dancer (is there such a thing?) Honey Daniels (a way too skinny Jessica Alba of Fox Televisions Dark Angel), tends bar at OverDrive, the hottest hip hop club in the Bronx. But that is her night job; her day job is in a record store called Crazy Louie's, where she works with her best friend and clubbing partner, Gina (Joy Bryant). In between working gigs, Ms. Daniels teaches hip-hop dancing at the rundown community center (Hunts Point Youth Center) in her neighborhood run by her mother (Lonette McKee). And oh yes, there is Benny (Li'l Romeo) a drug dealer in training and his little brother who Ms. Daniels tries to rescue from the mean streets.
It is also at Hunts Point Youth Center that she catches the eye(s) of Chaz (Mekhi Phifer, Clockers (1995), Soul Food (1997), O (2001), 8 Miles (2002), Imposter (2002), Dawn of the Dead (2004), & NBCs ER), who plays basketball there, and also owns a local barbershop. A budding romance ensues. Chaz is the protector and staunch supporter Ms Daniels can rely on. Their interactions on screen are predictably homogenized to the point of boredom; we want to push the interracial dating line, but not too far.
Meanwhile dancing at Overdirve one night, Ms. Daniels gyrations are digitally captured on a camcorder by a scout for high profile and successful music video director Michael Ellis (David Moscow). Michael likes what he sees in Ms. Daniels and he approaches Ms Daniels and offers a part in an upcoming music video, where she shines and is fast tracked (huh) to choreographer with predictable results
Jessica Alba turns in a passable performance as Honey Daniels, who seemed to slide between innocent sweetness and tough girl beauty with ease. Jessicas exotic loveliness is hard to ignore, and her smile could melt the coldest of exteriors. I alluded to the fact that this is not a movie for the more mature audience; it is much too simple and predictable to really stimulate the mind. But the eye(s) will be pleased with the beauty of the girls and seemingly effortless dance routines; think new age Flashdance with street credentials.
One facet of the film that disturbed me, but might be considered a minor manner not worth of attention to others, in the almost secondary role Black Americans played in Honey in a genre born in New Yorks Black American communities. Honey Daniels is undeniably white (or is she Hispanic/Black), the big shot director is white as are the top Hip-Hop DJs, in Honey something I find implausible given the world of Hip-Hop, but in Hollywoods world Black Americans seem incapable of anything but drug dealing, telling jokes, dancing backup to white performers, and rapping.
All things considered Honey is a somewhat enjoyable movie. The dance numbers are numerous, tightly produced and exhilarating to watch. And while the story is predictable, it moral center is one that deserves to be told and retold until its message takes hold of the young heart.
Cast: Jessica Alba, Mekhi Phifer, Joy Bryant, L'il Romeo
Director: Bille Woodruff
Studio: Universal Pictures
Rating: PG-13 for drug content and some sexual references.
Length: 1 hr. 44 min.
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good Date Movie
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older
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