In what is an even finer example of lowest-common-denominator filmmaking than its insipid predecessor, Are We There Yet? (which, coincidentally, I also hated), this alleged “family film” dumbs itself down to new lows. Within the first five minutes alone, star Ice Cube winds up with his face smashed and his body covered in assorted goo, including but not limited to: pizza, eggs and random liquids the come spewing from the fridge. As if that wasn’t enough to set the brainless tone, we’re treated to the following gem:
Obnoxious brat Kevin (Philip Bolden) enters the kitchen and asks: You got any Pop Tarts?
Beleaguered stepdad Nick (Ice Cube) corrects him: It’s “We got any Pop Tarts?”
Nevermind the fact that, in this sequel, Nick has given up his sports-memorabilia store to become the editor and publisher of his own magazine. I’m not sure whom he believes his target audience for the no-doubt priceless prose will be but, given the above, clearly the illiterate might be among them.
Cramped into his “tiny” apartment (it’s huge), Nick and now-wife Suzanne (Nia Long, who needs to fire her agent IMMEDIATELY) find themselves tripping over each other and Suzanne’s still-annoying kids, Kevin and Lindsey (Aleisha Allen). When Suzanne announces she’s pregnant, Nick decides to move the whole family out to a big, old house in the middle of what seems to be a forest so they can have more room. Hilarity ensues! Not.
Featuring countless scenes ripped off from other films like The Money Pit, The Great Outdoors, Vacation and Cheaper By the Dozen, the story follows Nick and family as they attempt to adjust to life in the country and, more specifically, life in a house that needs to be totally gutted from the foundation up. There are rampaging bats, an angry raccoon, termites, faulty plumbing, faulty wiring, faulty roofing and several moments of cringe-worthy CGI-ing involving a fawn and a giant sturgeon. None of it is funny. None of it is original. None of it harkens back at all to any of the great family films of the past. It’s insulting to the audience and cheapens the “family film” label.
The always entertaining John C. McGinley, whom I adore, plays a major supporting role as Chuck, the local real-estate agent/contractor/housing inspector/jack-of-all-trades. Were it not for him, this film would have been slapped with the infamous No Pie! rating. But I still kind of wish he’d turned down the part because this taints his otherwise sparkling resume. And if Nia Long doesn’t seriously reevaluate her career after this, I may have to stage an intervention.
I’m sure Are We Done Yet? will rake in fistfuls of cash at the box office, and that makes me sad. It’s a bad, bad movie.