Let’s assume that in the vast emptiness of space there exists an empty planet. Let’s further assume that one day we’ll use that planet to dump all the movies that were merely a blip on the radar, their mediocrity so overwhelming that you’d forgotten all about them on the drive home from seeing them. Finally, let’s imagine that they are loading that mother ship right now. Well folks, somewhere in the deep recesses of those piles of thousands and thousands of movies you’d find a copy of the 2005 edition of The Honeymooners.
Humor is an evolutionary thing; it changes with the sensibilities of each generation. The “Three Stooges” handed off the baton to Jackass: The Movie in the same way that Chaplin tossed to Jerry Louis who threw to Huey Lewis and the News (ok, bad example). But the point is valid. Comedy changes. It doesn’t stand still anymore than our views on race, sex, or culture. So why, WHY does The Honeymooners so faithfully recreate that 1955 feel? To what end? To please the nine remaining original “Honeymooners” fans? Would anyone have cared if they blew the damn thing up and created something fresh? Comedy relies on surprise and defying expectations. The Honeymooners walks a path so trod upon that it’s a wonder they didn’t sink.
But what about all the good parts? Well, I’ve kind of mentioned them already. Cedric the Entertainer plays a nice Ralph Cramden (Yeah, I watched the original series back in the day and found it mildly amusing). His mannerisms, his syntax, it’s obvious that Cedric studied Jackie Gleason to get into this role. The same goes for all four of the leads. They have the look and feel of the original series down. Hurrah.
John Leguizamo has two or three smirk worthy lines. Actually, his opening line of “Are you socially retarded?” may have been the highlight of the film. And this is a guy who’d be entertaining asleep. But they really never let any of the actors bust loose. Cedric is funny when he dances. That’s another five minutes of the film. An old lady says “Ho” in the film. That’s funny. What can I say? The film was dead on arrival.
So they are loading up the mother ship. The spacemen are throwing loads and loads of film and DVDs in to be whisked off into space where they can’t trouble us any further. The Honeymooners slips from one of the workers hands and lands onto another’s shoes. They stare at it. “You see that one?” one of them asks. The other looks down at the picture on the front and then back up. “Man… I’m not sure.” He says. And that’s the definition of a lifeless movie.