Holiday in Cambodia

Another week, another uninspired movie taken from an old television show and an object lesson, should it be required, in The Honeymooners, that Hollywood is continuing to mine a long-exhausted seam. Part-time hapless entrepreneur and full-time funk-loving New York bus driver Ralph Kramden (Cedric The Entertainer) and his feisty, long-suffering wife Alice (Gabrielle Union), who works as a waitress are stuck in the two-income trap, in that whatever income they derive from their two jobs is squandered on one of Ralph's many, desperately unfunny get-rich-quick schemes.

When the opportunity to buy an old lady’s duplex house in Brooklyn presents itself, together with their best friends and neighbours Ed and Trixie Norton (Mike Epps and Regina Hall) they have just enough money for a down payment. That is until Ralph and Ed get involved in a faintly ridiculous scheme to simultaneously enter the both the greyhound and tourism industries, putting the mortgage, and their marriages, at risk. Jackie Gleason’s monochrome domestic battleground, a simple stage set covered with two cameras but still considered one of the best television comedies of all time has been given a colourful urban makeover, replete with bouncing hip-hop soundtrack, rolling eyes, yo-mamma and fried chicken jokes and even a reference to Beyoncé’s fabulous booty. These hip-hop clichés are squeezed into a ludicrous and crushingly artless series of sketches and montages that emphases the cast’s clumsy attempts at slapstick above the blue-collar frustrations and effortless wordplay that the original is justly famed for.

Cedric the Entertainer huffs and puffs but loses stamina ten minutes in. Some honeymooner. His comic foil Mike Epps isn’t thrown a single genuinely funny line throughout the ninety minutes. The greyhound fares better. To be overly fair to both of them, and to the similarly underserved Union and Hall, the material doesn’t give them a chance. They literally have nothing to play with. Circling the chaos are the freeloading Eric Stoltz playing Davis, a yuppie scum property developer also looking to but the old lady's house and the unfortunate John Leguizamo as Dodge, a local grifter turned dog trainer, neither of whom ever convinces.

Director John Schultz, who filmed part of the movie last summer in Dublin and was previously the hand behind the ghastly, unwatchable Like Mike, doesn’t seem to have improved on his sense of scenario, his ear for dialogue or his comic timing. They’re all way off beam. Worst of all is the film’s last-reel grab for pathos, undeserved and sickeningly forced, that is just desperate to watch.

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