Film — The Honeymooners  (PG-13)

 

By Amy Diaz

Ralph and Alice Kramden get a pointless update in the needless comedy The Honeymooners, a directionless remake of the 1950s television show starring Jackie Gleason.

After seeing The Honeymooners, I have sort of a perverse desire to see someone remake I Love Lucy and set it in contemporary times. Take away Desi Arnez, Lucille Ball and the veil of nostalgia provided by black and white; what have you got left? A show about a husband who wants to keep his wife at home and backs up his squelching of her (admittedly unfounded) belief in her talents by spanking her. And not in the fun, kinky way.  How completely despised such a movie would be.

The Honeymooners is equally anachronistic — it is, after all, a show about a loud, obnoxious husband who answer’s his wife’s suggestions that he act like less of an ass by threatening to punch her “pow! right in the kisser.” What a charmer!

Updated, Ralph’s (Cedric the Entertainer) threatening “to the moon” is a lovey-dovey promise he makes to Alice (Gabrielle Union) when they’re courting. Fast forward six years and the bus driver and waitress are married and constantly arguing — mostly over Alice’s desires to buy a house and Ralph’s constant blowing of their money on get-rich-quick-schemes. Helping Ralph along in his capers is his upstairs neighbor Ed Norton (Mike Epps), whose wife Trixie (Regina Hall) is dim but a friend of Alice’s.

From the seed of The Honeymooners grew most of the couples in the sitcom universe (including Fred Flintstone, who gets a little nod in the movie). But honestly, I think we’re done. At least in movie form, where the constraints of time do not allow you to develop characters in a comedy, a lame comedy, too far beyond one or two basic characteristics. The dialog is so tired and fake that we don’t even get the thrill of schadenfraude from watching another married couple fight about money. Like the world’s slowest tunnel-of-love ride through stagnant carnie water, we know where this movie is going, we know how it’s going to end, we just want it to hurry up, and even the pretenses of romance don’t keep you from feeling a little dirty for getting involved with this mess in the first place.

 
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