And yet, it’s not; which is more than a little remarkable, as the film is actually even less competent than my introduction suggests.
By almost every possible measure the film doesn’t work. Opening up with a dance off between two groups of young, female prisoners, we quickly skip through the release of Maria (Katherine Graham) into the custody Mrs Daniels, played by Lonette McKee, the only link back to the original movie. As Maria settles in to her new, post-juvie life, we get fleeting introductions to people from her past. These meetings are so brief, you would be forgiven for assuming that they’re simply a recap of events from the first film. I certainly did. But they aren’t.
Indeed everything about the film is kept equally short, simple and brief. The characters are simple sketches, clearly designed to be rounded out in a never-written, later draft of the script. The story is hackneyed, and when the dance sequences are taken into account, probably only lasts about 40 minutes, and even the emotional tension dissipates rapidly, as rivalries and betrayals are forgiven within minutes. Combine this with dialogue that feels like it was written during a game of ‘cliché bingo’, and you get some idea of the issues the movie has.
What redeems the film though, is the cast. While no one is going to win an Oscar for Honey 2, everyone involved with the film seems to be having an absolute blast, and that excitement and energy is more than enough to carry it, and that’s no mean feat. Katherine Graham in particular is fantastic, utterly compelling to watch, I found myself smiling every moment she was on screen. If she’s this entertaining in a crap film, I’d love to see what she does with good material.
Honey 2 then is a rubbish film, but it’s also a highly entertaining one, and not (altogether) in the same ironic way that Conviction or Unstoppable are entertaining. It’s actually good fun, and while feather-light, and entirely inconsequential, it still engages with the audience in a sincere way.
Honey 2 is in cinemas today.
(Or 3.5/5 if you know understand the rules of a dance-off!)
*In the US, at least