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Honey (2003)

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ALBA
Image credit: Honey: Ava Gerlitz
ALBA

Details Release Date: Dec 05, 2003; Rated: PG-13; Genres: Drama, Musical; With: Jessica Alba; Distributor: Universal

Sounds like they could have called it ''Jessie From the Block.'' ''It's an underdog story about a girl from the Bronx who wants to be a dancer,'' explains Jessica Alba, who's best known as genetically enhanced human Max Guevara on the late Fox series ''Dark Angel.'' ''[But] she gets in the video world, and it kind of chews her up and spits her out.'' Mekhi Phifer costars as Honey's hometown sugar, while rapper-turned-thespian Lil' Romeo plays a neighborhood waif with big dreams.

Go ahead and compare ''Honey'' to ''Rocky,'' ''Flashdance,'' ''Saturday Night Fever'' -- heck, even ''Footloose'' -- just don't mention Mariah. ''My biggest, biggest thing was that it wasn't going to be 'Glitter,''' says Alba, who says she helped rework 90 percent of the original script. ''I wanted it to be relatable. In the best way, not in a cheesy way.'' To that end, music-video director Bille Woodruff has attempted to Velveeta-proof his $30 million debut by calling in plenty of high-caliber cameos, including Missy Elliott, Ginuwine, and Tweet.

The Killer Moment ''Midway through, Honey takes her life into her own hands,'' says Alba. ''It's about her finally taking charge.''

Originally posted Aug 11, 2003 Published in issue #724-725 Aug 22, 2003 Order article reprints