The Honeymooners

The Honeymooners (2005)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Cedric The entertainer, Mike Epps, John Leguizamo, Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Featurette, Interstitials, Trailer

Here we have a remake of the classic TV series, featuring Cedric The Entertainer and Mike Epps in the leads. But there's really more to it, a supporting cast the is wonderfully charming or side-splittingly funny.

The film tells the story how Ralph Kramden (Cedric) and his friend Ed Norton (Mike Epps) keep trying to strike it rich so that they can give their wives the life they always dreamed of. From one scheme to the next, they keep falling on their faces. One day it's selling T-shirts, the next days it's selling umbrella hats, then it's buying a train coach to start a sight-seeing business, and then it is picking up a dog from a dumpster and entering it into the dog races. Hair-raisingly funny, the film manages not only to capture the atmosphere of the original series but to update it with fresh ideas and fresh blood. It is a true homage, in fact.

The cast is truly superb, giving it their best, and making "The Honeymooners" a hoot to watch. It is clearly John Leguizamo, however, one of Hollywood's most underrated actors I would say, who's stealing the show in every scene he is in.

Paramount delivers "The Honeymooners" in a fullframe presentation only. I'm not sure what happened but there is no widescreen version available for this film. What is up with that? It appears this is an open-matte transfer because the image never feels cropped but still, whoever made the decision not to also release a widescreen version certainly needs some supervision.
The transfer itself is wonderfully nice and clean, rich in detail and with vibrant colors. Black levels are solid, creating great-looking shadows and an image with good visual depth. No compression artifacts are evident.

The audio on the release comes as a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital track that is nicely balanced with good surround usage and a wide frequency response. Sadly the majority of the music tracks used for the film are horrible, featuring some of the worst hip-hop you can think of. This may be an "urban" movie with a mostly black cast, but no one really needs these juvenile nursery-rhymes in the music.

As extras the release offers a commentary track featuring director John Schultz as well as his stars Cedric and Mike Epps. It's a fun track that offers up a wealth of information and anecdotes.

Also included is a featurette called "Hanging With The Honeymooners" which is a promo featurette with cast and crew interviews discussing how the project came together, how the cast was selected and just how great everybody was.

Six deleted and alternate scenes are also included as well as the movie's trailer.

"The Honeymooners" is a lot of fun. For some light entertainment, this is a top choice. Sadly the fact that Paramount doesn't offer a widescreen version will undoubtedly turn off a lot of people and quite honestly, I don't know what they were thinking either.