A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Honey 3 is the third in a dance movie series. This one is set in Cape Town, South Africa, but it could easily take place in any American neighborhood where minority kids drop out of school, have few employment opportunities, and thus turn to drug-dealing. Although that socioeconomic given is the backdrop, the main character is a college student striving to make enough money to pay tuition, and her focus is on dancing -- on creating a hip-hop dance version of the play Romeo and Juliet. While some of the dances are suggestive, only fully clothed kissing is seen. Expect to hear the words "s--t" and "bitch."
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What's the story?
In HONEY 3: DARE TO DANCE, Melea (Cassie Ventura) is an American student studying at a Cape Town, South Africa, university. Unable to pay tuition, she is suspended. She decides the time is right to honor her deceased mother, a South African, by turning her mother's favorite play, Romeo and Juliet, into a hip-hop dance musical. She enlists the help of the street dancers who populate her drug-infested neighborhood. Her boyfriend, Erik (Kenney Wormald), dances the role of Romeo and writes much of the music in collaboration with Taj (Clayton Evertson), a famous American musician and rapper who has become involved with the street dancers, too. Melea nobly tries to give back to the community by refurbishing a run-down theater and turning it into a dance center for inner-city youth.
Is it any good?
A multiracial cast of talented dancers does lend the movie some energy, but that doesn't compensate for the resemblance to some pretty bland made-for-TV teen movies. As in so many other such stories, the kids are putting on a show. They must overcome lack of financial resources. New music is played for the cast members, and somehow they immediately jump to the floor and perform perfectly synchronized choreography. Personal rivalries are posed without much justification as if to provide narrative conflict that can easily be remedied by saint-like forgiveness and understanding.
In the same simplistic way, the setting is Cape Town, even though most of the lead cast members speak in American accents and nothing in the specifics of the plot would change an iota if the whole thing were set in Los Angeles. The result is that the filmmakers seem to suggest that South Africans can't solve their own problems without foreign wisdom and assistance. While this is called HONEY 3, the only thing it seems to share with previous titles Honey and Honey 2 are the dance theme and the director, Billie Woodruff.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the fact that Melea is obviously set up as a role model of Honey 3: Dare to Dance -- someone who goes to college and is dedicated to helping disadvantaged kids in her neighborhood. Do you think neighborhood kids in real life would be grateful for her attention or angry that she believes she can help them?
Melea changes the tragic ending of the classic Shakespeare play to a happy one. Given her use of the play as a metaphor for the damage prejudice and gang violence can do, do you think that makes sense for this movie?
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