Cedric the Entertainer as Ralph Kramden
Mike Epps as Ed Norton
Gabrielle Union as Alice Kramden
Regina Hall as Trixie Norton
Eric Stoltz as William Davis
Jon Polito as Kirby
John Lequizamo as Dodge
Carol Woods as Alice’s Mom
Ralph Kramden (Cedric the Entertainer) has always had big ideas that he’s never quite turned into reality, but with the help of his trusty sewer worker sidekick Ed Norton (Mike Epps) he soldiers on. When he meets and marries Alice (Gabrielle Union) however, things become more complex as he has to start balancing his own big dreams versus keeping her happy, and decide what is most important to him.
There are two ways to look at the big-screen adaptation of the classic television series The Honeymooners – as an adaptation of the show, and as a film in it’s own right. Either way it’s a film that occasionally works, but never manages more than that.
As an adaptation of the television show, it somewhat works. Ralph Kramden is a blowhard who thinks he’s smarter than he is, and often pushes away everyone close to him in relentless quest for a fast buck. Cedric nails this part of Ralph’s personality perfectly, occasionally seeming to conjure the spirit of Jackie Gleason in his performance while still maintaining his own particular charm. He also works well with Mike Epps’ Ed Norton – which is good, because the bulk of the movie is about the two of them, their friendship and schemes.
It’s also the biggest problem with the film, both as a film in it’s own right and as a version of The Honeymooners – Alice doesn’t really exist in it. She starts out strong and gradually disappears more and more as Ralph and Ed’s problems mount and mount. Most of what Ralph does for the entirety of the film he does for Alice, and yet they have few scenes together and as a result almost no chemistry. The Honeymooners is a Ralph/Ed buddy comedy (with a few added chuckles by John Leguizamo as thieving dog trainer Dodge – though a little Leguizamo goes a long way), which was only about half of what the show was.
The other half was about his tempestuous relationship with Alice that always seemed like it was a hairsbreadth from collapsing but never did because of the underlying bedrock of love that kept them together. There is one moment of that in the film, at the very beginning, and then nothing for the rest of the film. It stops being The Honeymooners and becomes just a somewhat charming buddy comedy that’s nothing to write home about. Alice was the bedrock of the show – the thing that gave Ralph’s antics meaning – and she’s made out to be the bedrock of the film, and her absence hurts the film both in it’s own right and as an adaptation of the show.
It’s not really The Honeymooners, but it’s a decent enough comedy. But no more than that.
The Honeymooner’s is rated PG-13 for some innuendo and rude humor.