Jessica (Dark Angel) Alba hangs up her guns to play Honey Daniels, cutting edgehip-hop dancer looking to be discovered. Soon enough, a big-shot video director spots her andshe revitalizes his videos. Before long, she’s also in charge of choreography. Meanwhile, sheis becoming involved with street kids, trying to save them from lives of crime and abuse bygetting them involved in dancing. A test of her values looms too: will she succumb to the slickdirector’s wiles, or…will she hook up with the honest local boy who plays basketball at thecultural centre where she teaches dancing.
The question need hardly be asked. A veritable urban saint, Honey races from pillar to post,doing good wherever she goes. This is full-on wish-fulfilment. Now, there is nothing inherentlywrong with that – after all, why do we go to movies in the first place? But when the fantasy is soobviously constructed, as it is here, the result is more painful than inspiring. The dance routineshave some impressive aspects, but are frequently too short and cut too quickly to have theirproper impact.
Plenty of music in this film (no surprise there), and the audio track does well by it. Thevolume level is good, and the surround is quite impressive. The non-music surround effectsaren’t as noticeable. Even the urban street sounds are quite low key (though they are, at least,detectable). Dialogue is clear, undistorted, and never drowned out.
A very solid 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Though there is a bit of grain detectabelin some of the reds, this is the rare exception rather than the rule. The colours are strong, withexcellent contrasts and superb blacks. The nightclub scenes are real standouts, with no bleachingor murkiness. The flesh tones are bang-on as well.
Jessica Alba and director Bille Woodruff’s commentary tracks is very much in the Hooray-for-Everything mold, but isn’t entirely uninformative. “Behind the Groove” is a typical making-of featurette, and the same is true of “In the Mix with Blaque” — a supposed behind-the-sceneslook at the making of the video for “I’m Good.” Said video is also present here, as are twoothers: Jadakis and Sheek’s “J-A-D-A” and Shawn Desman’s “Sexy.”
The best featurette is “Make Your Move: Dance Like Honey,” which does make an honeststab at teaching the character’s principle dance moves to those who are interested. The 16 deletedscenes are presented in the form of a montage (no commentary on them), and the outtakes aren’tparticularly interesting. The cast and crew filmographies and bios are fairly involved. The trailersare for The Skulls 3, The Rundown and Peter Pan; these load before themenu whether you like it or not, but can be fast-forwarded through. There are also some DVD-ROM extras. The menu is scored (don’t leave it on too long or you’ll drive your neighbours crazywith the beat) and boasts a fully animated intro, main screen and transitions.
If Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland were making hip-hop films, the result would besomething like this. The film is probably of more interest to younger viewers. The extras areplentiful, but largely promotional.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- “Behind the Groove” Making-of Featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- “Make Your Move: Dance Like Honey” Featurette
- “In the Mix with Blaque” Making-of Featurette
- Blaque’s “I’m Good” Video
- Jadakiss & Sheek’s “J-A-D-A” Video
- Shawn Desman’s “Sexy” Video
- Cast and Crew Filmographies and Bios
- DVD-ROM Features