Monday, October 12, 2015

Honeybaby, Honeybaby (1974)



A mess of a story combining blaxploitation attitude, glamorous travelogues, I-am-woman defiance, international intrigue, and weird comic relief stemming from the presence of a ne’er-do-well stoner, Honeybaby, Honeybaby makes for a bewildering viewing experience. Although glimmers of professionalism occasionally peek through the amateurish sludge of disjointed scenes and nonsensical plot elements, the passable aspects aren’t reason enough to trudge through all 89 slow-moving minutes. The only consistent bright spot is the presence of leading lady Diana Sands, who died after this film was shot but before it was released, and seemed on the verge of becoming a star; despite the poor quality of Honeybaby, Honeybaby, Sands conveys intelligence, strength, and warmth. Anyway, here’s the loopy plot. Laura (Sands) is a UN interpreter living in Harlem. She wins a newspaper contest, and the prize is a trip for two to Beirut. Laura selects her idiot cousin, Skiggy (J. Eric Bell), as her traveling companion. Upon Laura’s arrival in the Middle East, a mystery woman secretly plants on Laura’s person a microdot containing the formula for preserving the body of a recently deceased African leader. Yes, you read that right. Various people stalk Laura, including the suave Liv (Calvin Lockhart), who seems to be a hybrid of a mercenary, a secret agent, and a smuggler. The narrative approaches incoherence at regular intervals, and it’s tiresome to watch insipid scenes like the one in which Lockhart and Sands feed marshmallows to guard dogs while invading a private estate. Viewed only for passages of the appealing Lockhart and Sands exchanging flirtatious dialogue, this picture is borderline acceptable. Beyond that, the movie is aimless, choppy, and dull.

Honeybaby, Honeybaby: LAME

1 comment:

Hal Horn said...

This was actually shot before WILLIE DYNAMITE as well, and had some well-documented troubles in post-production. It was Sands' second and last Kelly-Jordan production (she starred in GEORGIA, GEORGIA for them in 1972). She was set to star in CLAUDINE when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer; no doubt that role would have raised her film profile. Diahann Carroll (a close friend of Sands') stepped in and received her only Oscar nomination.