Director: Brian Levant
Starring: Ice Cube, Nia Long, Jay Mohr and
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG (Clean)
Date: 12 May 2005 (Exclusively at Cathay Cineleisure
In Revolution Studios’ family comedy Are We There Yet?,
Nick (Ice Cube), a smooth operator, is trying to land a date
with a young, attractive divorcee, Suzanne (Nia Long). Problem
is Suzanne is stuck working in Vancouver and miserable because
she misses her kids. Seizing the opportunity, Nick gallantly
offers to make her wish come true – and his own in the
process – by bringing seven-year-old Kevin (Philip Daniel
Bolden) and eleven-year-old Lindsey (Aleisha Allen) up from
Portland, Oregon to be reunited with their mom.
What Nick doesn’t know is that Suzanne's children think
that no man is good enough for their mom and will do everything
they can to make the trip a nightmare for him.
Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
you haven’t heard of Ice Cube, this May should get you
acquainted with the rapper-turned-actor. Besides occupying
the title role in the summer blockbuster “xXx: State
of the Union”, he shares first billing in “Are
We There Yet?”, a “family comedy” directed
by Brian Levant, and featuring Cube’s third and latest
collaboration with Nia Long.
Cube, what have you done?
Persons (Ice Cube) is a “blingage”-toting sports
memorabilia storeowner who flings footballs freely at children
and hollers wildly at them when they are up to mischief in
his shop. After a particularly energetic display of violence
towards two cheeky imps, he declares children “cockroaches”
that can’t be “squished”. Yeah, he hates
kids. He is fond, though, of the word “blingage”
and frequently uses it even when no apparent reason subsists,
which suggests that he has a mental capacity of a “cockroa…”
– never mind. He also has an annoying and rather disturbing
habit of talking to a toy figurine, which suggests that he
has a mental capa…- oh, never mind. Predictably,
he falls in love with a beautiful divorcée, Suzanne
(Nia Long), who (of course) has two terrors as children. Twenty
minutes and several plot contrivances later, Nick, in hope
of winning Suzanne’s good graces, agrees to bring the
two kids to Vancouver for New Year’s, which leads to
a melee of farcical gags, replete with pee-pee jokes and the
systematic destruction of Nick’s brand new SUV. I know,
your pardon, allow me establish two extremely random facts
before I go on; perhaps they may enlighten one of the less
than flattering grade I have given to this movie – I
have a general liking of cars, and I have a soft spot for
kids. “Are We There Yet?” is a movie that massacres
both. Suzanne’s two children, Lindsey (Aleisha Allen)
and Kevin (Phillip Bolden), are nothing short of brats: they
are downright obnoxious and can garner little (if any) sympathy
or affection from the audience. On top of that, Ice Cube is
actually pretty nice and accommodating as Nick, who’s
seemingly of relentless cheer and an inert fuse, which in
turn makes his prolonged torture by the kids extremely unpleasant
to sit through. It’s almost like watching a wrestling
match between Winnie the Pooh and Chucky’s offspring.
they destroy the SUV! Not cool.
digress. On a fundamental level, “Are We There Yet?”
has failed embarrassingly as a movie. It is neither imaginative
nor genuine, the writing and ideas as trite as they are insensitive.
There are elaborate gags that may elicit some laughs, but
everything gets tired within a while – the movie irritates
more than it entertains. The end product, therefore, comes
across as juvenile and pretty much a complete waste of resources
(poor, poor SUV).
all the characters are slaughtered, with the probable exception
of the supporting cast, but that’s perhaps only because
they didn’t stick around long enough to be offed by
the writers. Nick’s gradual evolution into a paternal
figure is awkward and quite unbelievable, since the kids barely
redeem themselves at any point of the movie. That said, Ice
Cube may well be the only good thing the movie has going for
it. Suzanne is suddenly a drama-mama at the end, self-centred,
self-righteous and spineless all at once. Yet perhaps none
can rival the talking plastic toy (CGI of baseball legend
Satchel Paige as a collector’s item figurine) in terms
of annoyance, creepiness and redundancy – it’s
very existence in the final cut simply goes to show the lack
of intellectual commitment that has been accorded to this
such a road movie, it’s nearly impossible to mess with
its basic structure: the trio comes and goes and reaches its
destination soon enough, but here, the coming and going is
tedious and repulsive, the conclusion 90 minutes too late.
“Are We There Yet?” has more or less made me terrified
of children, children around cars, children with “blingage”,
Satchel Paige and quite possibly all rhetorical questions.
It’s not the worst movie I’ve seen, but it sure
had a good run at it.
by Angeline Chui