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June 2005

By Wilson Morales

The Honeymooners

Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Director: John Schultz
Producers: Julie Durk, David T. Friendly, & Marc Turtletaub, based on the 1950s TV series
Screenwriters: Don Rhymer, David Sheffield, Barry W. Blaustein
Cast: Cedric the Entertainer, Mike Epps, Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall, and John Leguizamo
Screened at Loews 84th Street, New York City



There are plenty of stories that need to be told and discovered, yet Hollywood thinks that the gold is with remakes. There has been so many as of late and coming out that having an original screenplay is rare these days. When a film needs so many writers to be credited, there's a problem, and such is the case with the latest remake on the 1950s TV series, The Honeymooners. The TV series, which starred the lovable Jackie Gleason, is considered a legendary classic amongst those who were around to see it on TV. This film is basically the black version of it, BUT without the spark and punchlines that made you laugh out loud. Cedric the Entertainer is a good comedian but he can not fill Gleason's show if he put three socks on. The film doesn't offer anything funny and just becomes bland and tiresome as it rolls along. The whole concept of who the characters are is completely abandon to accommodate contemporary times, which isn't so bad if you want to update the series, but at least they could have tried to keep the core essence of why these characters were so well loved on TV.

Cedric the Entertainer plays Ralph Kramden, a New York City bus driver, who constantly is coming up with a get-rich scheme that always backfires on him, much to Alice (Union)'s chagrin. Never satisfied with what he has, Ralph uses what little money he and Alice have saved to invest in some lame invention. With Norton (Epps) around as his sidekick, he has someone who will back him up sort of speak. Meanwhile, Alice and Trixie (Hall), who work together as waitresses at a diner, overhear that one of their customers is planning to sell her house. Alice sees this as a way out of the tenement building they live in and a brighter future ahead. When Ralph loses a portion of the money that would have been enough for a down payment, he has to come up a scheme fast enough to get the house otherwise face the wrath of his wife and another one of his dreams go unfulfilled.

With the exception of John Leguizamo's character, who steals the film as a dog trainer, the rest of the cast straddles on by with no zest to their characters. Union's Alice is the only character close enough to be similar to the way Audrey Meadows played her in the original series, but we see less of her in the film. Gleason was a funny comedian but he had the ability to look menacing when he was angry at the things that Norton did, in an amusing way. Cedric doesn't possess that look. Even when Cedric starts quoting some of the show's famous lines like "To the moon, Alice!" there's no spark in it. Eric Stoltz (Some Kind of Wonderful) hasn't been on the big screen in a long time and with this role, he June have to wait for another golden opportunity to shine. "The Honeymooners" is a dismal remake of a classic TV show that makes one go back to Blockbusters to rent the original show just for the laughs.