Call it my Christmas catharsis. My penance if you will. I chose to go see Honey. I'm not sure if I've perpetrated enough evil in my entire life, much less this year, to deserve this kind of a penance. I'm not sure serial killers have done enough to deserve this. Regardless, after an hour and a half in the theater my slate is officially clean.
Honey is a dancer. She is a wonderful human being. She has goals. Big goals. She wants to be in music videos. But poor poor Honey is stuck working two jobs. Honey is only dancing at the local community center. What ever will Honey do?
I'll tell you what Honey will do. She will plod along into cliché after cliché, never doing anything except shaking her thing and wearing very very tight clothes. She will save the kids, grow apart from her friends, make tough choices, and then she will wear more tight clothes and shake her thing.
Jessica Alba made her mark in the short-lived Fox series "Dark Angel" where she was beautiful, sly, layered, and interesting. Here she is beautiful. And apparently that is exactly what director Bille Woodruff wanted out of her. Woodruff is a veteran of many music videos. It shows. There are endless funky angles and lenses, distorted viewpoints and edits set to the thundering soundtrack. There is little more than a music video's plot, but more insulting still is how the filmmakers attempt to mask the thin plot with mentions of domestic abuse, poverty, speeches on work ethic and corrupt record industry executives.
Its as if the filmmakers saw the problem ("Wait, there's not a story!") and rather than fixing the problem they tried to cover it up ("Quick, come up with something that sounds like social commentary!"). It's one thing to insult the paying public, its quite another to insult those in the world that truly have problems. Did the people involved in the film actually think that even though they couldn't successfully remake A Star Is Born they would succeed in inspiring those less fortunate to rise above their station in life. Did they believe that the tired, mind numbing series of events that they present would cause someone, anyone, to suddenly grab life by the horns and "make it" in the world?
It's possible, because that would make nearly as much sense as the film. Convoluted and insufferably derivative, Honey's only success is showing the world that Alba is indeed beautiful. Anyone who didn't already know that, or more to the point couldn't have figured it out from the poster outside the theater might truly enjoy this disgraceful entry into the filmmaking lexicon. Years from now I fully expect this movie to be shown in film schools across the country during the lesson entitled "If you graduate and make a movie like this the school will disavow any knowledge of you ever attending."
The most frustrating thing for me is the fact that there isn't even enough in the film to really make fun of it. I actually like seeing bad movies because, as a critic, it is typically a lot easier (and more fun) to just rip a film to shreds than to actually take the time to write a well thought out piece praising a movie. Honey didn't even suck enough to trash. It was an hour and a half of my life that I will never get back.
But hey, at least now I've been absolved of all this past year's sins.