As the millennium approaches New York City bus driver Ralph Kramden (Cedric the Entertainer) stops at the end of his day to give a ride to a pretty young woman, Alice (Gabrielle Union). He flirts with her and along the shores of the East River shows her the Y2K kit he invented that is going to make him a millionaire.
Six years later, they are married and living in a walk-up apartment where an elevated train goes by every few minutes. Ralph is no longer the jolly bus driver; he is a grumpy dreamer whose plans, carried out with neighbor Ed (Mike Epps), come to naught. Ralph and Alice bicker over everything, especially his get-rich schemes.
Alice works as a waitress with Trixie (Regina Hall), Ed’s wife, at a diner. Both women want a home of their own. A real estate development agent (Eric Stolz) meets at the diner with a frequent customer, Mrs. Benvenuti (Anne Pitoniak) one day to talk about selling her home. When Alice overhears the conversation, she convinces Mrs. Benevenuti to sell the home, a duplex, to her and Trixie and their husbands. Both women know they have most of the down payment money in their two savings accounts. Or so they think.
The Honeymooners, with its gang of five writers (one uncredited and believe me, I don’t blame him for bailing) is one of the sorriest movies to come out in years. It is so not funny. Too many writers spoil the broth, or they cannot save it.
At this matinee showing today, I was the only non-black person there. Two couples were in the theater when I got there. Then six women came in together, loaded up with pop corn and sodas. Twenty minutes after the movie started, they left together. Twenty minutes later, one of the couples departed. I don’t think the other couple was watching the movie anyway. I stayed until the bitter end so that I could write this post-mortem for you.
The Honeymooners, is of course, based on the original 1950’s Jackie Gleason/Art Carney television characters and their long-suffering wives played by Audrie Meadows and Joyce Randolph. If there is a heaven for comedians, Jackie, Art, Audrie and Joyce are in it; if there is a hell for comedians …
The filmmakers must have wanted to appeal to fans of the original show, but aside from a few comments (re: the Flintstones – it was supposed to have been based on The Honeymooners – but please don’t tell Fred, Barney, and Wilma), I cannot imagine that they will ever reach this goal. Alice isn’t long-suffering, she’s a misplaced model. The film didn’t know if it was black or white or even Latino (John Leguizamo plays a sleazy dog trainer and omni-factorem). It tried to speak to each audience’s culture, and as a result, it only spoke to itself. The story is contrived, the acting unconvincing. None of the characters made me care about them. Gabrielle Union posed for the camera as if it was a magazine shoot indicating that the filmmakers were trying to use her beauty to carry the show, you know, like most Hilary Duff movies.
At the end of the film Ralph tells Alice that he’s made some mistakes (this movie) and made some bad choices (this movie). This was the funniest line of all. The only one. I groaned in appreciation that the film was over.
Maybe now The Honeymooners will rest in peace.
(I usually try to say somethinggood about a movie out of respect for all the hard work and creativity that goes into it. And I never call a film “stupid” or a “waste of time” because someone just might get something good from it, even if I don’t like it. But I do not apologize for this review. It is what it is, just as is The Honeymooners.)