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Are We There Yet?
2005 - PG - 91 Mins.
Director: Brian Levant
Producer: Ice Cube
Written By: Steven Banks, Claudia Grazioso, J. David Stern, David N. Weiss
Starring: Ice Cube, Nia Long, Philip Bolden, Aleisha Allen, Jay Mohr
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.sonypictures.com/movies/arewethereyet/
   

Is this dang movie over yet?
Saved from becoming a complete and utter garbage attempt at entertainment thanks to the considerable verve of its star, 'Are We There Yet?' still ends up as mostly insufferable and another example of how pathetic most films aimed at family audiences have become.

The first warning sign as to the quality (or lack thereof) regarding 'Are We There Yet?' is the fact that the production company is Revolution Studios, the head of which (Joe Roth) helmed the offensively dreadful 'Christmas with the Kranks'. The warning signs don't end there, unfortunately. The director is the "one and only" Brian Levant, the man behind such "wonderful" films as 'Snow Dogs' and both of 'The Flintstones' films. With 'Are We There Yet?' he is right in his element. The film is a saccharine family comedy concerning a longtime bachelor (Ice Cube) intent on impressing his girlfriend (Nia Long) by transporting her children (Philip Bolden and Aleisha Allen) from Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, Canada. Much in the way of bodily fluid humor and kicks in the groin ensue.

First off, without the esteemed presence of Ice Cube this film would have degenerated into something akin to an unmitigated disaster. The man has both the necessary charm, self-deprecation, and a surprising amount of wit (presented in his uniquely gruff manner) to sustain one's interest even when his character is continually being humiliated. Too bad that the filmmakers had to resort to what can only be described as a nonstop barrage of gag-inducing attempts at comedy, most of which involve the Cube falling down or getting pained in some way or another. This technique shows laziness on the part of those behind the camera that becomes increasingly obvious as the film hurdles toward its contradictory conclusion that manages to negate pretty much all of what came before it. The lack of writing or ingenuity present in this production is ever so frustrating because it was graced with a capable lead (not to mention a decent though decidingly one-dimensional performance by Nia Long) and still squanders any potential it might have had. Not that the two "actors" playing the kids possess any of the aforementioned potential.

To put it bluntly, both Bolden and Allen are dreadfully terrible all throughout the film. They give performances that are fingernails on chalkboard grating, getting on one's nerves right and left with their supposedly precocious mugging for the camera. God help us if they are ever allowed any more substantial roles in Hollywood. They are so bad I personally would like to slap their parents for ever allowing them to be born, let alone act.

The only reason on this earth to see 'Are We There Yet?' is if you are a die hard fan of Ice Cube. Even so, you'd probably be better off just waiting for April 29 when ‘XXX: State of the Union’ is released.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Bland, boring, inept. Forgettable. Bland, boring, inept. Forgettable.
  1.5 out of 5 stars

 
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