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Are We There Yet? /

Rated: PG

Starring: Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen, Philip Bolden, Jay Mohr

Directed by: Brian Levant

Produced by: Matt Alvarez, Ice Cube, Dan Kolsrud
Written by:
Steven Gary Banks, Claudia Grazioso, J. David Stem, David N. Weiss
Revolution Studios


     I understand that most children favor rudeness and crudeness over intelligence and wittiness when it comes to comedy, but movies like Are We There Yet? really make me wonder about what society is trying to teach the future adults of the world about tasteful humor. Watching this filthy film, one question constantly popped up in my mind: Are there actually kids out there that enjoy watching ninety minutes of nasty things happening to annoying people? Clearly, as most of the audience members at the screening of Are We There Yet? that I attended laughed at the brutal slapstick, during every waking minute of the picture’s entire duration. I simply sat with my eyes and ears open, hoping that I would soon find out that their chuckles were actually a part of some kind of new laugh-track technology, which featured a built-in audience.

     No one would’a thunk that Ice Cube was a capable actor until he proved his abilities worthy in 2002’s Barbershop. The trick to the success of that film (and its sequel) was that he played a warm and amiable protagonist. In Are We There Yet?, his character, Nick Persons, is the polar opposite of Calvin the Barber. Nick is the materialistic and stuck-up owner of a sports-memorabilia store, who, one day, takes notice of the attractive Suzanne Kingston (Nia Long), who works across the street from him. When he is about to ask her out on a date, he discovers that she has kids, his worst nightmare. She instantly becomes less appealing to him, because of this.

     One night, when driving home from work, Nick spots Suzanne on the side of the road, in the rain, after her car apparently breaks down. His first inclination is to speed up to make sure that he is not overwhelmed by his own temptations, but he decides against it, and helps her out by giving her a ride home. Sparks fly between the two, and after about a dozen more times of driving her to work and back, Nick decides to break his rule of never dating women with children. He gets much more than he bargains for, in doing so, however. Before long, in order to win over her affection, he finds himself driving Suzanne’s two kids—both of whom happen to be vehemently against their mother dating and are willing to do anything to stop such from happening—on a road-trip from Portland, Oregon to Vancover, Canada.

     The two little runts in the movie are played by Philip Bolden and Aleisha Allen, in two of the most annoying performances in the history of the cinema. In order to discourage Nick from dating their mother, they do anything and everything they can think of in hopes of scaring him off. The two execute plans which involve kicking their driver in the balls, making him jump off of a moving train, vomiting on his car’s windshield so that he is blinded and cannot see when he is accelerating off of a cliff—you name it and they do it in this movie. Sure, Nick might not be a nice guy, but the treatment that he receives is nowhere near justifiable. What it is, however, is irritating, mean-spirited, and, more than anything else, painful for all rational viewers to watch.

     The concept of Are We There Yet?, alone, is enough for me to discourage parents from taking their kids to go see it. How ever could the idiotic characters influence a child in a positive way? Not to mention, there are several scenes in the movie which feature Nick’s prized bobble-head-doll, which has conversations with him and tells him to harm his two passengers and take advantage of their mother. How could the MPAA possibly rate Are We There Yet? PG after slapping a PG-13 onto an innocent and good-natured picture like Whale Rider? The only reason I can think of is that they have done so in attempts to support the seemingly desperate need of many parents to preoccupy their children with a movie for an hour and a half. I’ll tell you what: If you, the reader, ever find yourself in such a position, I will personally come over and baby-sit your kids, instead. An adult’s relaxation is not worth a kid’s mind being corrupted by the foul sense of humor that belongs to Are We There Yet?

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (Posted in 12.28.2004-2.5.2005 Update)

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