Honey (2003)
Main cast: Jessica Alba (Honey Daniels), Lil' Romeo (Benny), Mekhi Phifer (Chaz), David Moscow (Michael Ellis), and Joy Bryant (Gina)
Director: Billie Woodruff


Honey, like every one of those "women found fame" moralistic movies from Hollywood, follows the expected formula: sweet but beautiful woman catches the eye of a charming entertainment business person, becomes popular, learns that fame is horrible, and runs home to the arms of the simple homely man. Why is it that male-oriented movies always end with the hero conquering everything, while for female-oriented stories of this kind, the heroine finds success by abandoning fame and fortune to find love with her smalltown man? What kind of message are we sending out to teenaged girls watching movies like Honey?

Derivative is one thing, but Honey is made even more painful to watch because Jessica Alba displays the emotional range of a brick wall. Her Honey Daniels is a sweet but feitsy bartender that catches the eye of a wigger video director after she's taped dancing in the club where she works. She becomes a lead scantily-clad dancer on videos of MTV rappers, only to realize that the kids at the school where she teaches think she's too good for them anymore. Her friends also start thinking that she's too good for them. Poor Honey is torn, because see, girls, people don't like you when you are too successful. Best stay at home, get married before you graduate from high school, and spend the rest of your life bitter and resentful at all the opportunities and dreams you gave up on. Then, of course, Honey learns that they are all out to use you in Hollywood. If Honey is a man, she'll of course trash these guys and emerge the king of the heap. But since Honey is a woman, she flees to the arms of the smalltown barber Chaz and back to town to teach kiddies to dance like hot crap. Everyone is happy, because Honey - like all women should be - is back where she belongs, at home, making everybody happy, and in love with a man who will never be threatened by her success. Which is moot, because Honey tells us women that we shouldn't be successful anyway, as success means having to tangle with perverts in scary cities. Best stay at home and work at popping out the brats, girls!

With zero originality and even less watchability factor, Honey is a stinker in every way that matters. I hope Jessica Alba will take the message of Honey to heart: don't be sad when your career flops, honey, because hey, like your character teaches us, it's best to stay at home and make babies and dinner for the man.

Rating: 07


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