Honey (2003 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bille Woodruff|
|Produced by||Nicole Brown
Marc E. Platt
|Written by||Alonzo Brown
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||94 minutes|
Honey is a 2003 motion picture released by Universal Pictures. Featuring music produced by Rodney Jerkins, the film stars Jessica Alba, Mekhi Phifer, Lil' Romeo, Joy Bryant, David Moscow and features performances by Tweet, Jadakiss and Ginuwine. It also features a cameo by Missy Elliott. Honey was followed by a sequel, Honey 2, released on June 10, 2011.
Honey Daniels (Jessica Alba) is a bartender and dance teacher at the local community center in New York. Having dreams to make it as a backup dancer in music videos, Honey and rival Katrina (Laurieann Gibson) are recorded dancing one night in the club where she works. That same night, Honey and friend Gina (Joy Bryant) leave the club and encounter some kids dancing. Two of the kids are introduced as Benny (Lil' Romeo), and his little brother Raymond (Zachary Williams). Honey invites both to attend her classes at the community center, and they become inspiration for some of her moves as a Dancer. Honey soon catches the attention of music director Michael Ellis (David Moscow), who gives her a job as a back up dancer in Jadakiss' new video. Unimpressed with his current choreographer, Michael decides to let Honey choreograph the video. Suitably impressed, Honey gets promoted, and choreographs for Tweet, Sheek Louch, and Shawn Desman.
Having hit the big time in the music business, Honey reluctantly dates hairdresser Chaz (Mekhi Phifer), and faces problems at the community center. The building is old and falling apart, and Honey's mother runs the center but is unsure if she will be able to maintain it. Deciding to do something about it, Honey finds an old store up for sale and decides to turn it into a dance studio for the local kids. Pressuring Honey to take up teaching Ballet classes, her parents refuse to help with the new dance studio. Honey gets a bank loan, and puts down a deposit. Meanwhile, Honey pitches an idea to Michael for Ginuwine's new video, using the kids she teaches at the center as the back up dancers, Ginuwine acting like an urban Pied Piper. Gina's 25th birthday comes up, and Honey makes plans to take her to Atlantic City, but Michael convinces her to make an appearance at a black and White party instead, where he subsequently makes a drunken pass at her. She refuses his advances, slaps him on the face and Michael begins to have a major outburst at Honey and she leaves the party. Honey and the kids as background dancers dance for Ginuwine's new video but Michael is not impressed and hires Katrina to be in Ginuwine's new video and he fires her from Ginuwine's video, black mails her in the business, and installs Katrina in her place. Her friendship with Gina, although strained, improves, and she helps Honey realize she can still make her dreams come true.
Honey struggles to pay the down payment on the studio, and eventually comes up with an idea to raise revenue. She holds a dance benefit, using an abandoned church that is scheduled for demolition, for the event. Honey spends time getting to know Raymond and Benny, and is shocked to see Benny going down the wrong track. She visits him in prison. She is determined to help him but he refuses and insults her. Honey informs Benny that his mother knows and he will be getting bailed out and Honey tries to tell him how she feels of him being in jail and says It breaks my heart seeing you selling yourself short like this, but he tells her to go. Honey asks Benny how many times do his mates come and see him and he is visibly saddened by her question realizing none of his friends visit him at all and leaves him to think about it. In the benefits has a new video for Missy Elliott to choreograph, and she is unimpressed with Katrina's ideas. She insists on Honey Daniels, and Michael goes crawling back to her, begging her to work for him. He offers to buy her the studio. She refuses, saying she does not need his money, and she will do it on her own.
Gina is given a flier for the benefit, and takes it to the bank manager, who calls some donors to appear at the benefit. On the night, it is a full house, and Honey's parents, Benny's disapproving mother and Chaz among many others attend. While everyone is getting dressed and preparing for the performance.In the dressing room, Benny tells Honey that everything will be OK. Benny's mother is duly impressed with her son, and sees the future he has as a choreographer. The audience claps for everyone who danced. Honey embraces her new boyfriend Chaz and Benny and everybody else including her parents. R'n'B singer Tweet also attends, and gets on stage with Honey to celebrate her victory. Missy Elliott arrives at the benefit around the time it finishes, cursing her driver, saying she will have him fired if he's the reason she can't meet Honey. The credits roll, and feature Honey's successful music video for Blaque.
- Jessica Alba as Honey Daniels
- Lil' Romeo as Benny
- Mekhi Phifer as Chaz
- David Moscow as Michael Ellis
- Zachary Isaiah Williams as Raymond
- Joy Bryant as Gina
- Missy Elliott as Herself
- Laurieann Gibson as Katrina
- Ginuwine as Himself
A number of popular hip hop and R&B musicians make cameos in the film, including producer Rodney Jerkins, Jadakiss and Sheek Louch of D-Block, Tweet, and Ginuwine. Canadian R&B artist Shawn Desman was also featured. Singer/actress Aaliyah was originally cast as Honey Daniels, before her death in August 2001.
Critical response 
Honey was released to mostly negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives film a score of 20% of based on reviews from 112 critics, with an average rating of 4.1 out of 10. The critical consensus was "An attractive Jessica Alba and energetic dance numbers provide some lift to this corny and formulaic movie". Metacritic gives the film as score of 36% based on 30 reviews.
A. O. Scott of The New York Times gives the film a positive review, noting that it "brings out the wholesome, affirmative side of the hip-hop aesthetic without being overly preachy", although it will not impress anyone with its originality.
Box office 
The film opened at #2 at the U.S. box office raking in $12,856,040 USD in its first opening weekend, behind The Last Samurai. The film made $30,308,417 in the U.S. and Canada and $31,919,978 in foreign countries, to a total of $62,228,395 worldwide.
- "Honey (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
- "Honey (2003)". Torque (SPH Magazines): 103. July 2008. ISSN 0218-7868. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
- Laurieann Gibson Says 'The Dance Scene' Is Not Just A Dance Show, Jocelyn Vena (MTV). April 8, 2011.
- "Laurie Gibson".
- "Honey". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster.
- "Honey". Metacritic. CBS.
- A. O. SCOTT (December 5, 2003). "FILM REVIEW; She's Aiming for the Stars, With Feet Planted in the Bronx". New York Times.