Published Dec 01, 2003After failing to make an impact with her lacklustre Dark Angel TV series, Jessica Alba returns to the big screen in hopes of making her mark as more than a pretty face riding the J-Lo train. Sadly, she's picked the dreadful role of Honey Daniels to start her quest. Honey is an overly kind and charitable dancer who aims to use her rapid success in hip-hop choreography to give back to the NYC community. In fact, Honey is so much of a ghetto angel spewing out a crash course in Ebonics along the way that it's hard to swallow and the feel-good plot rides the "After School Special" tip, appealing to no one over the age of 14.
Honey is working two jobs in order to get by even managing to squeeze in some volunteer time to teach a hip-hop dance class at the recreation centre. She happens to be documented shaking her ass via a video camera by an assistant to Michael Ellis, a famed video director who personally takes it upon himself to track Honey down and launch her moves into super-stardom. When her absurd ability to transfer basketball and double-dutch moves into dance routines makes her the hottest choreographer in the music business, she is quickly overwhelmed by her fame and must choose between events like attending the hottest industry party of the year or hitting Atlantic City with her best friend.
The film tries to send out a positive message on several different levels Honey's attempts to save two brothers from a life of drug-dealing and domestic abuse while trying to raise money to buy real estate for a dance studio. Toss in a romantic fling with a local barber (Mekhi Phifer), her efforts to prove that hip-hop is as rewarding as ballet to her skeptical parents and her having to fend off sleazy advances, and there's a lot of soul-searching for Honey to sift through. All these elements were intended to give this film a multi-layered dynamic, but they end up going absolutely nowhere and are executed as well as the banter at the beginning of a P. Diddy video.
The habit of giving music video directors the chance to create full-length features has got to stop. Bille Woodruff has created nothing more than a stretched-out promotional vehicle for the likes of Missy Elliott, Ginuwine, Tweet and Jadakiss, who all appear in Honey as themselves. Mainstream hip-hop and R&B videos are incredibly brainless and dull to begin with, becoming more and more generic as the years go on. Concepts consisting of nothing more than flashy dance routines and slick camera angles are not the foundation you want to build a film around, and Honey is proof of that, winding up as eye candy with no substance, and even the dancing fails to entertain. (Universal)