Honey (2003) / Drama-Romance
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for drug content and sexual references
Running time: 94 min.
Cast: Jessica Alba, Mekhi Phifer, David Moscow, Joy Bryant, Lil' Romeo, Zachary Williams, Lonette McKee, Anthony Williams, Ginuwine, Missy Elliott, Jadakiss, Tweet
Director: Bille Woodruff
Screenplay: Alonzo Brown, Kim Watson
Review published July 27, 2006
There's really only one reason to watch Honey, and that's to see Jessica Alba (Sin City, Fantastic Four) in skin-tight, revealing outfits shakin' her thang. That alone almost makes this otherwise cornball drama about a girl trying to make it big tolerable, but not nearly enough to make it good. It's music video director Bille Woodruff's (Barbershop 2) first big screen attempt and the results are probably much less satisfying than the rap and R&B joints he sells on BET. The real distinction lies in the fact that Honey is about ninety minutes longer than your average music video and has about as much worthwhile content.
Alba plays Honey Daniels, a 22 year-old street dance instructor that catches the eye of Michael Ellis (Moscow, Just Married), one of the top music video director's in the world of hip hop. Honey has a chance to live out her dreams when Ellis offers her a chance to choreograph some music videos for him. She's a resounding success, but the fame and fortune does come at a price. She is losing track of her friends, her community and her family, and it doesn't take long before she's forced to choose between selling out all she is to achieve all she's worked so hard for or to put all aside to be happy with who she really is.
I'll give Alba a little credit here, as she isn't really known for her dancing abilities or her street cred either, but she does a decent job in showing off some impressive moves, and she doesn't really embarrass herself too much in the role as a Black Latina from the tough side of town. The one thing she is known for, her acting, is her greatest liability, as evidenced during the times when she has to display any emotions that don't require her to smile or look confused, the two looks she has nailed down cold. The only scenes that work happen to involve a good actor, Mekhi Phifer (8 Mile, Clockers), who actually manages to take trite dialogue and silly romantic elements and make them work to his advantage. Still, he's not in the movie enough to save it, so all we're left with is Alba, her smile, and her body to keep us entertained.
Honey is energetic and colorful, with a nice collection of R&B and hip hop jams, so viewers that regularly make MTV part of their regular television watching habits may find this to be of some interest. Those looking for good drama, interesting characters, or a reason to donate 90+ minutes of their lives will probably come out of this very disappointed. Honey does live up to its name -- slow-moving, syrupy, and overly sweet.
©2005 Vince Leo