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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Honeymooners
The Honeymooners
Paramount // PG // November 22, 2005
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted November 28, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

The Honeymooners originally came out in the 1950s and since then it has remained one of the most beloved television shows of all time. It all started thanks to Jackie Gleason's variety show (Cavalcade of Stars) where he would portray a Brooklyn bus driver named Ralph Kramden. The skit was so popular that CBS gave Gleason the chance to produce a sitcom about it and in all 39 episodes were made. Unfortunately nothing is held sacred these days when Hollywood runs out of ideas, and The Honeymooners is a prime example.

The movie may star several well known names like Cedric the Entertainer, Mike Epps, Gabrielle Union, Jon Polito, and John Leguizamo, but that's not enough to save it. The script is predictable and droll, chemistry between actors is non-existent and even though this is a "comedy" I never even cracked a smile. Sure the biggest source of comedic value from the original 1950s show involved threats of domestic violence, but that was part of what made it as shockingly popular as it was. This sort-of-remake of The Honeymooners doesn't offer any physical comedy and the phrase "To the moon Alice!" is part of Ralph's romantic chitchat.

Kramden (Cedric) is still as big of a boob as ever and does everything possible to keep his wife, Alice (Gabrielle Union), down in the dumps. He keeps coming up with get rich quick schemes like a man purse, Y2K survival kit, Mets T-shirts, umbrella hats, etc., that all are failures and wastes of time and money. All Alice wants is to leave the hovel that they live in and move into a duplex with their friends Trixie (Regina Hall) and Norton (Mike Epps). Standing in their way however is Ralph's constant stream of bad ideas and a relentlessly depleting bank account.

Another one of his crazed schemes involves buying a train car from beneath the city and transforming it into a tour bus. He takes more money out of their account, effectively leaving the balance at negative $223.60, which leads to more trouble when Alice finds out. This gives way for another crazy idea which is to face a dog that he and Norton found in a dumpster. Needless to say the plot for The Honeymooners is pretty simplistic and much like its cast of characters, never really goes anywhere.

The aforementioned lack of chemistry between the cast is really one of the biggest downfalls of the film. I can't believe for an instant that Alice and Ralph would be together, simply by the way that they are portrayed on screen. Alice comes across as an intelligent and ambitious woman, so why would she have shacked up with such a listless looser? For that matter Norton and Ralph don't get the same workings that the original pair had back in the 50s. I also don't understand why being Norton's friend means that Ralph gets to go below the sewers and be part of the crew.

Leguizamo is really the only semi-redeeming point of the movie, playing a sleazy character named Dodge. We meet him when he is siphoning gas out of a car, find out he's a dog trainer, and learn more about his character than we do about any of the main ones. He's simply got the best personality out of the bunch and brings more to the table than Mr. Entertainer ever could. I'm sorry, but I just don't find Cedric all that charming or funny, especially in this movie. Unless you're a diehard fan of his or are looking for something to waste an hour and a half of your life on, you can easily pass on The Honeymooners and go on living a happy life.

The DVD:

Video:

Do you like your movies pan and scan? No, me neither. If The Honeymooners wasn't a bad enough movie to begin with, that's what you're going to get with this DVD. I always avoid watching films in full screen format whenever possible, but it's not like I'd really want to see "more" of this movie anyway. For what it is the image features some acceptable quality with sharp detail, a clear picture and some fine contrast. There is some edge enhancement and grain in some scenes and the image also gets a little soft at times, so things aren't completely smooth sailing.

Audio:

The Honeymooners DVD comes with a few options in the sound department. The disc offers a 2.0 English track as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 selections for English and French. The obvious choice here is the 5.1 English track since it offers the best quality out of the bunch, though I wouldn't expect too much from the film. The sound is pretty subdued with some minor rear channel play with music and some atmospheric city sounds, but dialogue most remains on the front stage. The disc also features subtitles for English and Spanish.

Extras:

The disc does contain a few extra features worth mention, though there really isn't anything here to get too excited about.

Probably the most notable is a commentary which features Director John Schultz along with Cedric the Entertainer and Mike Epps. There is a little bit of insight into the process of filming and the locations of the movie and such, but for the most part they tend to narrate the film. There are a few interesting comments though as far as commentary tracks go this one is a little weak. In addition to this tidbit is a little behind the scenes look at the movie called "Hanging With The Honeymooners". There are some nice comparisons between the film and the original TV show and some interviews with the actors and crew, but really it's not very informative.

There are also a handful of deleted/extended/alternative scenes with some optional commentary by John Schultz. Judging by how the movie itself was in its final form, you don't have to be an oracle to predict how "good" these scenes are. If for some reason you actually enjoyed the film though, you may get a kick out of some of these. Apart from these features, all that is left on the disc are some teasers, trailers and previews for this movie and others.

Final Thoughts:

I don't like being so blunt about things, but I'll just come out and say it anyway; The Honeymooners is terrible. Everything about this movie from start to finish is regurgitated garbage that is as unfunny as it is boring and uninspired. Sometimes it's best to leave old concepts and shows the way they were and not try to reinvent them. This movie is simply a perfect example of that. To make matters worse this DVD is presented in all of the glory that full screen has to offer. Skip It


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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