Honey (2003 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bille Woodruff|
|Music by||Mervyn Warren|
|Cinematography||John R. Leonetti|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Honey is a 2003 dance film 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. Late R&B Singer and American Actress Aaliyah was originally cast as Honey, though the role was later recast to Jessica Alba due to Aaliyah's death in August 2001.
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Honey Daniels (Jessica Alba) works as a bartender, a record store clerk and a dance teacher at a local community center run by her mother in New York. Having dreams to make it as a backup dancer in music videos, Honey and rival Katrina (Laurieann Gibson) are recorded dancing in the club where the former 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 Isaiah Williams). Honey invites them to attend her classes at the community center, and they work together to inspire new dance moves. The young teacher soon catches the attention of music director Michael Ellis (David Moscow), who gives her a job as a backup dancer in Jadakiss' new video. Unimpressed with his current choreographer, Michael decides to let Honey choreograph the video. Impressed, Honey gets promoted, and choreographs for Tweet, Sheek Louch, and Shawn Desman.
Honey dates barber Chaz (Mekhi Phifer) but has a hard time maintaining the community centre with her new choreography career. The building is old and falling apart, and her mother is struggling to run 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 her to take up teaching ballet classes, her parents refuse to help with the new dance studio, but Honey gets a bank loan, and puts down a deposit. Meanwhile, she pitches an idea to Michael for Ginuwine's new video, using the kids she teaches at the center as backup dancers with 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 and Michael begins a major outburst so she leaves the party.
Honey and the kids are background dancers for Ginuwine's new video but Michael is not impressed and chooses to replace her with Katrina and blackballs her from the business. Honey's 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 scheduled for demolition, for the event. She spends time getting to know Raymond and Benny, and is shocked to see Benny going down the wrong track[clarification needed] and visits him in prison. Benny refuses her help and insults her. Honey informs him that his mother knows and he will be getting bailed out. Honey tries to tell him how she feels about him being in jail, but he tells her to go. She does manage to ask him how often his friends visit and he is visibly saddened by her question, realizing none visit him at all and leaves him to thinking.
In the benefits[clarification needed] has a new video for Missy Elliott to choreograph, Michael suggests that she gives Katrina the chance to do so. She refuses and insists on having Honey choreograph it. Once done watching the impromptu choreograph from Katrina, Missy tells both her and Michael that she's unimpressed with their arrogance and sexy ideas. She makes it clear that she will postpone the filming of her video until Michael fires Katrina and brings Honey to choreograph it. Realizing his mistake, Michael goes crawling back to Honey, begging her to work for him and even offers to buy her the studio. She refuses, saying she will do it on her own. She also tells him that he's as arrogant and selfish as Katrina in the way he behaved from an earlier job that not only got her fired, but also made her break a lot of her students' hearts.
Gina is given a flier for the Honey's benefit, and takes it to a bank manager, who calls some donors to appear at the benefit. The night 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. Honey's parents are also impressed and change their mind about having her become a ballet teacher. The audience applauds for everyone. Honey embraces her boyfriend Chaz, Benny, and everybody else including her parents. R&B singer Tweet also attends, and joins Honey on stage to celebrate her victory. Missy Elliott arrives around the time the benefit 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 with Missy's approval.
- Jessica Alba as Honey Daniels
- Mekhi Phifer as Chaz
- Joy Bryant as Gina
- Lil' Romeo as Benny
- David Moscow as Michael Ellis
- Zachary Isaiah Williams as Raymond
- 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.
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.
The film opened at #2 at the U.S. box office, raking in US$12,856,040 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 other countries, for a total of $62,228,395 worldwide.
- "Honey (2003)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
- Laurieann Gibson Says 'The Dance Scene' Is Not Just A Dance Show, Jocelyn Vena (MTV). April 8, 2011.
- "Laurie Gibson". The Boston Globe.
- "Honey (2003)". Torque (SPH Magazines): 103. July 2008. ISSN 0218-7868. Retrieved June 21, 2009.
- "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.
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