"Are We There Yet?"
Directed by Brian Levant.
Written by Steven Gary Banks, Claudia Grazioso, J. David Stem and
David N. Weiss.
Starring Ice Cube, Aleisha Allen, Philip Daniel Boden and Nia
Release Year: 2005
Review Date: 3/8/05
Look, Longer, times are slow in the spring.
I don't have a lot to go on here; I mean, I've got to bite it and
see "Be Cool" and "The Pacifier" eventually, so for now, we'll keep
it to family fare until the big guns start rolling in by May.
"Are We There Yet?" actually came out over a
month ago. It's the story of sports collectibles playboy Nick
Persons (Ice Cube), a man with a new Lincoln Navigator in tow and
the hots for a single mom (Nia Long) that has two kids hell-bent on
making sure their mom never remarries: Lindsey (Aleisha Allen)
and Kevin (Philip Daniel Boden), who both think their mom should
wait up for their biological father, who hasn't been around much of
late. When the mom comes to trust Nick as a friend, she has to
go on a business trip to Vancouver, and she entrusts Nick to get her
children to meet with her somehow...so, after planes and trains
backfire, it's up to the Navigator to make the road trip with the
world's most dangerous kids in the back seat.
There were a couple of very important things
that happened during my recent matinee showing:
-->For the first time in my entire life, I
went alone into a movie theater and was the only person in that
theater from start to finish. The first time! This
almost became a distraction, as I waited patiently for someone to
show up and blow it for me...but, it never happened. I picked
the wrong day to show up without a date! I did see
Deckchair" in a theater with just people I came with, and I also
Tall" in a theater alone...but, not until the other four people
in the theater walked out because it was such a piece of shit.
-->I came to the realization that no actor
in the history of film has gone from one spectrum to the other like
Ice Cube. No one. EVER. We're talking about a man
that, in his music and in his public appearances, regularly
denounced women and everything they stand for. A hardcore
rapper. Hardcore career with NWA; hardcore solo career.
Regularly dissed whites, gays and women in his lyrics. Only
made movies about thug life, violence and reverse racism.
Then, something happened. I still can't figure out what
exactly happened, but he went from doing R-rated smackdowns like
"Trespass" and "Dangerous Ground" (don't forget about "Boyz N the
Hood"), then made a couple of across-the-board great films in
"Friday" and "Three Kings", then did a couple more what-the-fucks,
like "All About the
"John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars" before setting off on what
seems to be a new chapter in his life--PG-13 comedies (the
"Barbershop" series), a three-picture deal with DISNEY, and now, his
first true big-budget leading role, taking over for Vin Diesel in
the "xXx" sequel due out
in April. I mean, seriously, who the fuck is Ice Cube? I
just have this feeling that in three or four years, he'll be playing
a preacher or a member of the Peace Corps or something ridiculous
like that. Strangely, I don't think he's even sold out...he
just seems to be genuinely interested in doing something completely
Now, as to "Are We There Yet?", it's a film
that is almost sickening to watch, from a plot standpoint--you watch
Nick go about the business of trying to impress the mom, in order to
win her heart...and the kids are at their annoying best when they
try everything to defy Nick's instructions. Allen and Boden
are great as the kids, but Long and Cube aren't as good as the
lovers-to-be; this is as bad as I have seen Long in her work, but of
course, she is ridiculously hot, so she's allowed to take a film
off, I guess. She just seemed to say everything like she was
standing in a cloud, talking down to Earth's minions; Cube as a
romantic lead can be tough to buy given his past, so I had that in
the back of my head as he was putting on the moves. Even Jay
Mohr is reduced to garbage in "Are We There Yet?"; he doesn't say a
single funny thing in the film.
But, as the road trip rolls along, the movie
does score some good laughs at the expense of Cube's physical comedy
and the deteriorating state of the Navigator's hull. And, it's
a decent ride, with nice outdoor scenery (the movie is set in the
Pacific Northwest, but I'm not sure if it was shot there) and a
quick-but-unhurried pace. I won't need to see it again, but
for $6, you can rest assured that "Are We There Yet?" will entertain
right at the midpoint.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard