The Honeymooners
directed by John Schultz
(Paramount, 2005)

Here we have one of the most ill-conceived remakes in history, a truly forgettable film exploiting a well-known, much-loved commodity for money (and very little of it, as things turned out). Exploiting may not be the right word for me to use here, however; it's not as if this movie sought out to make fun of the original series, and the transformation of the Kramdens and Nortons into middle-class African-Americans carries no kind of overt or underlying statement whatsoever. The only problem with this odd movie is its failure to be very funny.

I've always said Cedric the Entertainer is always funny. Well, I can't say that anymore. I did get a few laughs over the course of the film, but watching this modern version of The Honeymooners is sort of like watching a fish out of water: initially, it's sort of funny to watch it flop around all over the place; before very long, though, it starts to get boring, all that activity begins to slow down more and more as it makes its way to a painful death, and you're left just standing there, hoping to sneak away before anyone notices you were ever there to begin with. Someone really should have thrown this fish out of water back.

None of the actors seemed to have his heart in what he was doing. Cedric had his moments, but they were few and far between, and I couldn't help but notice that even he seemed rather uncomfortably embarrassed delivering his final and fully predictable line at the very end. There was no real chemistry to be found among the actors, either. Gabrielle Union is a lovely young actress, but she just doesn't have the feisty nature of a true Alice Kramden; she's just too nice for the role. Mike Epps didn't exactly scream Ed Norton to my brain, either.

Plot-wise, there's not much to talk about. Alice and Trixie want to have a home of their own, and Ralph's many get-rich-quick schemes prevent them from putting a down payment down on the duplex they've found. Ralph scrambles around, jumping from one hare-brained moneymaking scheme to another, trying to get the money back before Alice finds out it's gone. From sewer-bound trolley cars to dumpster dog racing, Ralph just keeps getting himself closer and closer to the proverbial doghouse. Throw an embarrassingly trite ending on this puppy, and you've got The Honeymooners movie in a nutshell.

The fact that Cedric isn't even very funny in this movie tells you all you need to know about the script. It's all just incredibly bland and lifeless; I never even felt like I was watching a movie. Personally, I think the film might actually have done better without a tie-in to classic television's The Honeymooners, as that really just set this decidedly weak film up for a fairly substantial fall. The writing is weak, the characters have little depth and the whole movie just isn't that funny. The Great One may well have been spinning in his grave when this film was released.

by Daniel Jolley
2 September 2006

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