By Scott Brown
December 03, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Sadly, there will never be another ”Glitter.” That gloriously misbegotten mess of wild vanity and mild insanity was distinguished (if not quite ennobled) by its tragic celebri-trash idiocy — and Mariah Carey’s equally tragic pants. There’s nothing openly idiotic about Honey, the latest hip-hop after-school special to take up residence on Beat Street. In fact, there’s nothing about it at all — this is Hollywood fulfilling its community-service hours, truly, wanly, sweetly.

Jessica Alba goes from Dark Angel to street angel, flashing a beatific smile and a beatific midriff as she balances a meteoric dance career with a saintly commitment to her Bronx hood. So supposedly superior are her moves (standard club gyrations alloyed with ballet flourishes and gymnastics to meet some vague post-postfeminist gold standard) that she captivates the hip-hop industry in a matter of weeks, after being plucked from clubland by a powerful video director (David Moscow).

But don’t mistake this for ”A Chorus Line 2: Electric Boogaloo.” ”Honey” is fixated on center-stage cameos (Ginuwine, Missy Elliott, etc.) at the expense of its too-brief dance sequences, and the idol worship undermines the film’s anti-bling moralizing. Still, there’s plenty of message mongering: Despite some sizzle with love interest Mekhi Phifer, the alluring Alba ends up a desexualized mouthpiece for lines like ”I see kids go from bad homes to bad schools and back.” On the bright side, she stands an excellent chance of winning the Democratic Party nomination.

  • Movie
  • PG-13
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