2005 - PG-13 - 85 Mins.
|Director: John Schultz
|Producer: Julie Durk
|Written By: Barry W. Blaustein, Danny Jacobson, Don Rhymer, David Sheffield
|Starring: Cedric the Entertainer, Mike Epps, Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall, John Leguizamo
|Review by: Joe Rickey
|Official Site: www.honeymoonersmovie.com
An update of the classic 1950's TV series that starred the one and only Jackie Gleason, 'The Honeymooners' tells the story of one Ralph Kramden (Played here by Cedric the Entertainer) and longtime friend Ed Norton (Mike Epps) as they concoct various get rich quick schemes. Why, you ask, would they need to do such a thing? Well, their respective wives (Gabrielle Union and Regina Hall) are depending on them to raise enough money to buy a duplex so both couples can live under one roof. Hilarity, one hopes, would ensue.
Raise your hands if you wish you didn't sign on for this film.
With such a setup it is not really a stunning surprise of what the film becomes. That's not to say it is not any less of a disappointment though. What does the film become, you ask? Simply, the film becomes a scattershot series of skits that would not be out of place on "MAD TV" or "Saturday Night Live" as the two men go through hair-brained scheme after hair-brained scheme in an attempt to garner the aforementioned funds. The film seems to lose focus on the concept of a coherent plot with real characters in favor of a skit-like structure that lends the film the ability to throw joke after lame joke at the audience without any concern for their ramifications on the overall storyline because there really isn't one to speak of. The original TV series had far more structure than this half-hearted update can even pretend to possess. All of this is nothing in comparison to the fact that, aside from a few moments, the film just is not very funny. The screenplay's decision to play it safe with the comedy (This film teeters on the edge of being rated PG) is a big mistake as the film isn't even as edgy as the original TV series most of the time and that was created in the 1950's! Comedy has thankfully progressed in some 50 odd years and it is rather confounding to find a film that lags so far behind the curve.
Taking over where Gleeson left off, Cedric the Entertainer's Ralph Kramden is given credence by the actor. He definitely does nothing to bring shame to the prior actor's legacy in the role, bringing whatever life the film has to the screen through sheer likeability. What a shame that his best performance in a lead role had to come in such a ramshackle production. As Ed Norton, Mike Epps also does a decent job, often coming off as bland but this is more the fault of how his character is written than a fault of the actor.
Another thoroughly forgettable remake of a classic TV series ('Bewitched'), one can only hope that August's 'Dukes of Hazzard' fares better than 'The Honeymooners.'