out of Five
Running time: 110
Effectively marshalled collection of dance movie clichés that scrapes a pass thanks to spirited performances and decent dance sequences, though the dialogue is hilariously dodgy in places and the film has its fair share of so-bad-it's-good moments.
What's it all about?
Directed by Bille Woodruff (Honey), Honey 2 is the Jessica Alba-less sequel to the 2003 dance flick, starring Katerina Graham (The Vampire Diaries) as fresh-out-of-juvie street dancer Maria, who's paroled into a care-taking job at the Honey Daniels Dance Studio, run by Honey's kindly mother, Connie (Lonette McKee, providing the only crossover with the original film). Lurking in the wings is Maria's slimy ex-boyfriend Luis (Christopher Martinez), who was responsible for her spell in juvenile detention and who keeps trying to persuade her to rejoin his delinquent-filled street dance crew, the 718s.
Rejecting Luis, Maria is drawn to clean-cut crew High Def – including “Business and Dance major” Brandon (Randy Wayne), bolshy Tina (Seychelle Gabriel) and gorgeous Carla (Melissa Molinario) - who practice at the dance studio and are in need of a choreographer/lead dancer to steer them to victory at an upcoming reality TV dance battle contest against reigning champions – yes! - the 718s. Could Honey 2, sorry, Maria possibly provide them with just the dance-based bottle they've been looking for?
Graham makes a spirited, likeable lead and proves that she's just as good as Jessica Alba when it comes to wearing a sweaty black halter top during a dance montage. Similarly, Martinez delivers suitably slimy support as Luis (he has a good line in annoyed scowling) and there's perky work from Gabriel as turncoat Tina.
The dance sequences are energetically handled and entertaining to watch, although the choreography can't quite convey the fact that High Def's dance style is meant to be drawn from all sorts of other styles.
It's fair to say that, as sequels go, Honey 2 has no ambitions beyond delivering more of the same and it duly trots out every conceivable option from The Big Book of Dance Movie Clichés, occasionally with unintentionally hilarious results – you know you're in so-bad-it's-good territory when the line “My parents died in a car crash” gets a huge laugh, for example. It's also a shame that the film doesn't spend more time on Maria's prison buddies, because the opening prison dance-off is bad movie gold.
Honey 2 might be predictable but at least it puts its collection of clichés to good use. As such, this is an entirely watchable sequel that won't disappoint its target audience.