Honey is every bit the feature film you’d expect from Bille Woodruff, the music video director responsible for some of the most vanilla R&B clips of the last 10 years, most popularly Toni Braxton’s “Un-Break My Heart.” Jessica Alba stars as camera-mugging Honey Daniels, a not-so-dark angel living in the Bronx with aspirations of becoming a music video booty-shaker. After catching the attention of white music video director Michael Ellis (David Moscow), she ruffles a few feathers at a Jadakiss shoot and soon finds herself choreographing for Tweet and Ginuwine. She also gets Missy Elliott’s attention, which more or less points to the film’s lunacy. Elliott frequently appropriates different dance styles into her delirious choreographies, which are infinitely more subversive than anything Alba tries to pull off in the film. Don’t go into Honey expecting a lurid, behind-the-scenes exposé of life on the set of a music video. Though Moscow bears a passing resemblance to Brett Rattner, the filmmakers don’t really intend the character as a jab against the Rush Hour director, who found incredible success directing R&B and hip-hop videos straight out of film school. If Michael’s skin is white that’s probably because some Universal suit didn’t want to give Alba’s Honey more than one black love interest (Mekhi Phifer’s Chaz). Honey does for the grungy dance melodrama and the inner city survival film what Scary Movie does to popular modern horror flicks. Imagine the ad quotes: Showgirls without the flying French Fries; Hardball on the dance floor; Flashdance with less grease and elbow. “Hip-hop can’t take you to places ballet can,” says Honey’s light-skinned, white-thinking mother. Oh, but it does. After seeing what marijuana does to Lil’ Romeo, Honey appropriates everyone’s dance moves into her hot-to-trot choreography, announces herself as a ghetto angel, and saves the film’s black youth from themselves. Looks like someone’s been watching Dangerous Minds. So have we, honey.
- Bille Woodruff
- Alonzo Brown, Kim Watson
- Jessica Alba, Lil' Romeo, Mekhi Phifer, David Moscow, Zachary Isaiah Williams, Joy Bryant, Missy Elliott, Anthony Sherwood, Lonette McKee
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