I could compare this week’s dance flick Honey 2 to Citizen Kane, a 21st century version of Welles’ masterpiece. But I won’t because it’s rubbish. In a genre so devoid of anything marked to lift it above the unremarkable, Honey 2 is just another case of a genre piece so astoundingly average and emotionally uninvolving that in the screening I went to I frequently felt the need to claw at myself just to feel something other than cold indifference and physical inferiority. Well, that’s also a lie – but you get the jist. That it makes The Hangover 2 look like a truly original and astounding piece of cinema really indicates just what a boring, tedious and tediously boring film Honey 2 is.
In what is essentially a music video, stretched about as close to breaking point as my last sentence, we get to see more of director Bille Woodruff and of his predilection for gratuitous abs. Fresh from the straight to DVD pep-fest of Bring It On: Fight to the Finish, Woodruff is a music video director who seems about as lost when it comes to feature film-making as Michael Bay directing a Jane Austen adaptation. Constantly cutting to the quick, he keeps his focus firmly on the action and his cast’s sweaty bodies, rarely ever going out of his way to portray characters or a story.
What story there is comes directly from the ‘Dance Movies for Dummies’ book of banality. Fresh out of juvie, our heroine Maria basically finds her way into a dance crew and through many a machination ends up on a televised talent show against a rival crew. It’s the same as every other street dance film ever and just a rubbish effort all round. But whereas StreetDance 3D had a certain visceral thrill and the Step-Up films arrived when the genre still had at least a few vestiges of freshness, Honey 2 just stinks up the cinema with its stuffy predictability.
At one point Maria proclaims that “dancing is how I say the things I wanna say”. The same attitude shouldn’t have been taken by the film-makers however. To call any conventional street dance film a musical is to stretch a point, but as many musicals have proven there is the potential for something cinematic that transcends mere performance. That Honey 2 is just another aspirationless and inconsequential nugget of wearisome pop-culture is a waste of what could have been a turning point in the genre.
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