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Sunday, 13 May 2018

Retro Review: Are We There Yet? (2005)

Are We There Yet?
Cast: Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aiesha Allen, Philip Daniel Bolden, Jay Mohr, Tracey Morgan
Genre: Family Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $97 million

Plot: When a guy falls for a single mother, it isn't long until she finds herself in a jam and needs someone to escort the kids to Vancouver for New Year's Eve. When Nick obliges, he embarks on a road trip he'll never forget 

'Is It Over, Yet?'

A comedy directed by Brian Levant, who did Jingle All The Way (which I thought was amusing), The Flintstones (that I didn't enjoy), Beethoven and The Spy Next Door starring Jackie Chan, Are We There Yet? plays out like a more tedious version of Home Alone meets Planes, Trains and Automobiles with the little kiddies tormenting and making fun of adults and wrecking havoc wherever they go, & with even brattier kids that is also a part rom-com of sorts with Ice Cube's character trying to woo and win over Nia Long's character's affections. 

Nick is the owner of a sports memorabilia store, who has no intentions of having kids, as he hates them. But then, all of a sudden, recently-divorced Suzanne catches his eye & no sooner does he pounce on the scene as love beckons. Or so he thought it seems to be that case, & thus upon seeing that she has 2 kids of her own, he is turned off. Which is understandable given the two of them practically scare away and humiliate every and any suitor who dares to date and go out with their mum & that they think that their mum & dad should be together. When Suzanne heads off to Vancouver for work, the dad/ex-hubby falls ill (or be it his refusal to look after Kevin & Lindsay) & with that Nick offers to take their kids to the airport. But then trouble arises as the kids make life very difficult for Nick by testing his patience at every turn and with Nick becoming even more irate and angrier, because of it. Not to mention them as well. & by watching this film and the hell they unleash on poor Nick, it's no wonder. These kids may look cute, but deep down, they are a pain in the butt. 

I watched this movie because I thought it would be one of those guilty pleasure low-brow comedies that I'd enjoy. But it wasn't - it was so awful and tedious with not very charming characters and virtually little comedy that made me laugh and smile. There was just so little from this film that I thoroughly found to be entertaining and enjoyable. 

The cast is okay, but the material which they were given was written by 4 people, and still, it comes off as uninspired, trite & one that offers nothing that is entertaining or new to work with. That along with a pair of annoying little runts in the troublesome twosome brother & sister pairing, who are not only one of the number of turn-offs in this picture but whose antics are so far-fetched, it's irredeemable. Ice Cube was my favourite by far but even he couldn't do very much to make it any better, Nia Long's character was virtually non-existent most of the time, the kids who play the bratty siblings are all right, but their characters were, bordering on infuriating, as well as horrible. Tracy Morgan has a pitiful role voicing a bobblehead doll of a baseball player. Thing is I would've enjoyed Are We There Yet?, had the main characters had any likability or charm and a comic actor in say Kevin Hart in place of Ice Cube who would have provided more of the comedy and humour. 

Despite my liking for low-brow humour, which this movie employs, the comedy slapstick set - pieces and visual gags come across as rather lame and irritating than wholly amusing, whilst other forms of humour resort mainly to shouting, screaming and irritation. & as a whole, Are We There Yet? is a jumbled mess of ideas with a road trip-based story that never gels properly, but instead, it goes in all manner of directions to generate laughs - yet not one of them was funny enough. & the fact that the film tries to get us to root for the kids because they wanted to see their dad, it doesn't help their cause that they come across as dislikeable, obnoxious and so incredibly childish. When it also tries to be serious and heartfelt in one or two scenes, though they were okay, particularly when they see that their father is remarried, it all felt forced and second nature to everything else that came before that scene in this movie. 

As it went on, I just didn't care what was going on and how the kids especially would turn out in the end, as this repetitive and equally predictable comedy became more exasperating to endure. 

Final Verdict:

By also eschewing any real emotion felt between the characters in place of rather whether or not Nick can tolerate any more of the brats' behaviour, along with comedy that becomes tiresome to watch, Are We There Yet? suffers through its poor pacing, obnoxious kid characters and a story that drags further than it should have & that it becomes even more tedious and a chore to get through. 

Besides the slapstick and despite some of the performances, it feels more of a case of 'been there, done that', but also there is just not enough. 

Am I done yet? Yes, I managed to get through to the end and it was, in most cases, painful and in all honesty, it wasn't that enjoyable.  


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