Cheerfully undemanding, Honey is an inoffensive dance caper likely to go down a storm with its target market of early teenage girls, as well as providing eye candy for pubescent boys and lecherous film critics. Occasionally preachy and always predictable, it's nevertheless executed with efficiency and a little charm. Jessica Alba stars as Honey Daniels, a community centre hip-hop dance teacher who breaks into music videos and is torn (well, mildly stretched) between her demanding career and the friends, family and cutesy kids of her neighbourhood.
Alba is required to do little more than display a burnished midriff in a series of energetic dance routines and sport a creased brow of concern when faced with the chirpy children (including the charismatic Lil' Romeo) she's saving from the ruff tuff streets, or the music video director (David Moscow) who needs her talent but wants her body.
"WORTHY, WARM MESSAGE"
Mekhi Phifer provides solid support in the barely written role of her barber boyfriend (pretty much what 8 Mile required of the ER star), while a series of hip-hop artists - Tweet, Ludacris, and the amusing Missy Elliott - pop up for cameos tied into a soundtrack no doubt available in a store near you (the songs tend to feature "honey" as a prominent lyric - you'd think she'd have noticed).
The threats to our heroine are minor - a slightly sceptical mum, a drug-dealing playa who disappears after a ticking off - with the story merely stringing together sequences of fleet-footed feats before the climactic dance-studio fundraiser ("I was counting on that money - not for me, but for the kids") provides a suitably worthy, warm message.
Reminiscent of Beat Street and Breakin', Honey may one day prove as dated and quaint as those early 80s breakdancing pics. But for now, it'll have young audiences dancing in the aisles and studio executives purring, "Sweet."