Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Semi-Late Review: The Honeymooners

The Honeymooners (Director: John Schultz)

Schultz directed masterpieces Drive Me Crazy and Like Mike. It's amazing he'd take on an adaptation of an old TV show. Four writers are credited with the screenplay. Overkill. This movie opened June 10.

I'm not familiar with the TV show at all. I know it's an iconic historical show, and I certainly didn't miss that Jackie Gleason was Ralph Kramden and he used to say, "Bang, the moon Alice!" as was the apparent trademark of the fifties hit. Why, suddenly, this movie needed to be made, and why it needed to be Afro-centric, and why four writers needed to work on it, and why funny, talented people like Cedric the Entertainer, Gabrielle Union (smokin' hot by the way), Mike Epps, and Regina Hall can't find better movies (and how John Leguizamo and Eric Stoltz, once part of much bigger things, have fallen the way of Jay Mohr, who surprisingly doesn't make an appearance here) are all so far beyond me, I feel like I'm in a completely different universe.

The "story" involves Ralph Kramden (Cedric) and Ed Norton (Epps) trying many get-rich schemes to get out of their everything's-wrong apartment and be better providers for their wives, Alice (Union, did I mention she's smokin' hot?) and Trixie (Hall). A big opportunity comes up where they can buy a duplex, and Eric Stoltz plays the white devil (an intricate part of black films, I've noticed) that plays the evil real estate mogul trying to buy the property and dash the dreams of everyone. The conflict for Ralph is that he's shooting too high at the wrong things, losing money on his schemes, and the just-enough cash he and Alice have to pool with the Nortons to buy the house has dwindled--affecting the marriage.

So, there's tons of sequences where Ralph and Ed try to make the money, to no avail. The strange thing about a movie like this, is that it's so devoid of jokes that you can't call it bad in the way that, say, Fat Albert is bad. It's bad because it's pointless and has no vision. It's got the spirit of a comedy, but who's trying to make us laugh? I fear that the answer is John Leguizamo, who isn't a main character. The jokes are all on the blooper reel at the end of the movie, it seems. This is a movie Cedric the Entertainer should have just run off with and said, "Screw the script. Everyone else has."

So, by the end of the year, you won't see this movie mentioned with the worst of 2005. It won't be mentioned at all. It will be like so many TV-to-film adaptations like Dennis the Menace and The Beverly Hillbillies which will be forgotten, only to come up again when someone makes an I Love Lucy movie (with an all Hispanic cast! You got some 'splainin' to do, J Lo!).


At 6/15/2005 09:40:00 AM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

Yeah, I don't mean to sound crass, here, but exactly who is this movie targeting? Fans of the original Honeymooners? Well, they're mostly dead or so old they stopped going to the theater...and most of them are white (and grew up in a racist America to boot) I doubt those folks are going.

So then who? Modern African Americans? Well, sorry to say, most of them probably aren't any more familiar with the original show than Chris is.

You see my point? Two audiences for this film, both of which are likely to ignore it. Why remake one of the oldest TV shows into a movie? Then....why cast black actors? Doesn't make any sense at all. You could have just written a movie about Cedric driving a bus and dealing with his wife and probably drawn in more people.

This has to go down as one of the absolute stupidest remake ideas of all time.


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