Honey Bille Woodruff

Honey Bille Woodruff
Why is it that every movie with a "from rags to riches" dance theme dares to make the comparison to 1983's Flashdance? One supposes that Honey is attempting to give us a behind the scenes glimpse into the hip-hop music world we were exposed to in 2002's Brown Sugar. This time around it's not the music though, it's the dancing. Can it get any more rudimentary? With titles like Brown Sugar and Honey, what's next Maple Syrup, The Canadian Hip-Hop Story? As ridiculous as a comment like that is, it's no more absurd than the plot of this movie. Honey Daniels (Jessica Alba) is an inner-city girl and aspiring hip-hop dancer/choreographer with all the right moves just waiting to be discovered by the right people. Along comes music video director Michael Ellis (David Moscow), who sees something special in Honey and gives her that break she's desperately wanted her whole life. Eventually, Honey gets caught up in the "game," as it were, and has to make that inevitable crossroads decision: should she give up everything she stands for in life in exchange for riches and fame? The plot here is so thin and overtly discernible that you're embarrassed at how contrived the attempt to "keep it real" is. Honey and the others — Chaz (Mekhi Phifer), her love interest, and Benny (Lil' Romeo), a street kid who's struggling between his dancing and the allure of the streets — are all one-dimensional, formulated characters, which is disappointing, since as actors there is great potential in each. The special features offers the usual deleted scenes and outtakes, a "Make Your Move: Dance like Honey" lesson for all those wannabees out there just dying to be in the now; and of course, a behind the scenes window into the making of Honey. The DVD would not be complete without a few exclusive music videos from the film: Jadakiss and Sheek's "J-A-D-A," Shawn Desman's "Sexy" and Blaque's "I'm Good." This movie may be a timeless classic for a 13-year-old, but for those of us old enough to remember when films about da hood were actually refreshing exposé pieces, this is to be slotted in the forgettable movie category. (Universal)