Ralph Wants a Happy Union
Admittedly I'm as guilty as the next man but isn't it daft how we get angry when an old movie or TV show we fell in love with is given the remake or update treatment. Take "The Honeymooners" the 2005 update on the Jackie Gleason sitcom; there are so many angry reviews of this movie that you would think it was the worst movie ever made when in truth it's just a stereotypical one. And the trouble ironically seems partly down to the fact it is not an actual remake, set in the 1950s but an update set in the now. But to me that is how it should be, taking the basic idea of the popular 50s sitcom and turning it into something for a new generation to enjoy and as such it works, not brilliantly but on par with the majority of modern comedies.
Bus driver Ralph Kramden (Cedric the Entertainer - Man of the House) is always looking for a way to get rich quick much to the annoyance of his wife Alice (Gabrielle Union - Bad Boys II) who only wants for them to own their own place rather than rent. So when Alice and their friend Trixie (Regina Hall) learn of a house coming up for sale they set their hearts on it only for Alice to discover that Ralph has been dipping into their savings to use in get rich schemes with Trixie's husband Ed (Mike Epps). Desperate to make up the money he has lost all Ralph can seem to do is lose even more money and making Alice more and more angry with him.
So here is the thing "The Honeymooners" is not a remake of the 50s sitcom but an update of it, taking the characters, the situations and updating them for a new generation in a modern setting. And whilst for those who think that is sacrilege to do such a thing to their beloved sitcom the truth is that it works and is entertaining for a new generation especially those who have never seen Jackie Gleason and Art Carney as Ralph and Ed. I say it works but don't mistake that for me saying it is brilliant because this is an average modern comedy which trades on obvious humour and stereotypes but it puts on par with so many others.
As for the actual storyline well it is an extended sitcom episode as we have Ralph desperate to make up the money he has wasted in order to get back in Alice's good books when she finds a home for them to buy. It's not special or imaginative but it works for a variety of amusing situations from Ralph and Ed street dancing to raise money from trying to get into the mind of a dog they found to make it run in a race. To put it simply this makes it the sort of movie you can end up doing other stuff to whilst it is on and not really miss anything but when you watch you will be amused by the stream of comedy from Ralph and Trixie arguing to the various get rich quick schemes that Ralph tries.
Character wise well Cedric the Entertainer is no Jackie Gleason but then as already said for an audience who have never seen the original TV series Cedric works as Ralph, he gets across the likeable nature of this man always looking for a way to make money. In fact whilst "The Honeymooners" also features Mike Epps, Gabrielle Union and Regina Hall it is Cedric the Entertainer who drives it and at times he does it very well. My only real negative comes from John Leguizamo as dog trainer Dodge because it is too much of a stereotype and ends up annoying rather than amusing.
What this all boils down to is that if you have cherished memories of Jackie Gleason in "The Honeymooners" then stay clear of this 2005 update because it is likely to make you angry. But for those who don't have those cherished memories give it a go, it's not the most amazing comedy but it takes the old sitcom and updates it for a new generation and in doing so works.