How many dance movies are there going to be before its target audience yawns itself into a coma? Honey 2 is the sequel (of sorts, although it has very little to do with its predecessor) to 2003’s Jessica Alba Dance ‘em up Honey.
It stars Katerina Graham as Maria, a dancer recently released from juvie who’s assigned a job as a caretaker for the Honey Daniels training school and taken under the wing of Honey’s mother (Lonette McKee – the only tenuous link to the first movie). Despite trying to stay on the straight and narrow, she’s constantly tempted by her sleazy ex-boyfriend Luis, who was responsible for her incarceration in the first place. He wants her to rejoin his dance crew, current kings of the neighbourhood, the 718 Crew.
She rejects his advances and instead opts to join the clean-cut High Def Crew who are coincidentally rehearsing in the very studio she’s caretaking. They include squeaky clean college boy (hilariously double majoring in Dance/Business studies), Brandon (Randy Wayne) straight talking Lyric (Brittany Perry-Russell) and her confrontational sister Tina (Seychelle Gabriel) and the sassy Carla (Melissa Molinaro).
They’re looking for a new choreographer and lead dancer to perfect their moves for an upcoming reality TV dance competition whose reigning champions are, shock of shocks, the 718! But will Maria have what it takes to face down her old crew and steer High Def to victory?
Graham makes for a decent lead and proves that Jessica Alba isn’t the only one that can flaunt her abs in a black halter top. She’s ably supported by Seychelle Gabriel as turncoat Tina and Christopher “War” Martinez is suitably slimy as over-confident scumbag Luis.
The dance battles for the most part are energetic and well-choreographed but there’s nothing that hasn’t been seen in half a dozen movies of the same genre – you could slip in a dance montage from another movie and it would probably go past without comment.
Honey 2 really has no ambitions beyond those sequences – the plot often feels like a few tiresome links to the next dance. That’s a shame because its opening sequence – a dance-off in a women’s prison – promised a more knowing nod to the inherent ridiculousness of the genre and it would have been vastly improved if it didn’t then try to take itself too seriously.
Honey 2 could take home gold in the Cliché Olympics with attempts at dialogue often resulting in unintentional hilarity. Tina and Lyric are dancing not just because of the prestige but because the prize would go to fund “grandma’s medical expenses”; Brandon comes from a filthy rich background and is dancing to defy his authoritarian father and it’s impossible not to laugh when Maria unexpectedly drops in the line “My parents died in a car crash”.
What’s next, Carla needs to win the contest so she can be the world’s first dancing astronaut?
Despite it being yet another unimaginative addition to the over-saturated dance movie genre, its target audience will most likely be satisfied. The rest of us…bleh.