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This is family comedy, without the comedy. Ice Cube is not known for his subtle comedy ability, he’s more your action hero wise-cracking one-liners kind of a guy. Here he’s way out of his depth trying to play a bachelor with an instant family.

Are We There Yet?
Film
Nick Persons (Ice Cube) is a happy bachelor who runs his own fine sports collectables shop. He’s a very material person and takes pride in his expensive possessions. That is until one day he views Suzanne (Nia Long), a divorced business woman, across the street. He falls for her and by chance gets the opportunity to give her a lift home. Problem is she has two kids—two very naughty kids. In fact these children are pure evil and believe that mom and dad will one day get back together as long as they can keep budding boyfriends away from mom’s door. Anyway, Suzanne’s ex husband drops her in it on New Years Eve, you see she has to work in Vancouver and he was supposed to have the children. Nick, seeing his chance to impress her decides to take the children to meet up with her, with hilarious consequences.

Are We There Yet?
Directed by Brian ‘Beethoven’ Levant with as much subtly as a brick in the face, Are We There Yet is a dire movie, which scrapes the very bottom of the slapstick barrel for ideas and constantly fails to be original or funny. It’s a flick that tries to jump on the Home Alone bandwagon some fifteen years too late, and what we have here is a dreadful, almost woeful movie that tests the patience and goodwill of all who see it.

The main problem here lies not only with the script (which in itself took and incredible four people to write), but with the casting. Mr Cube just cannot adapt to this genre; he’s uncomfortable with the surroundings and format and just doesn’t have the delicate touch to make some of the more heart-warming scenes touching. The children too (though this may be a scripting problem) are so un-likeable that you hate them, instead of laughing along with them. Comedy is all about balance and subtly, this suffers from a lack of them both. Their nasty ways are supposed to be justified because of their situation, but because they are so vicious and calculated any sympathy you build up is soon dashed. As for the talking bobble-head mascot, well let’s just say that was one bizarre piece of plotting.

Each set-up or gag can be seen coming a mile away, such as the time the brats steal his car, or when they miss the train. All are well signposted far in advance and no matter how many times Cube shouts or pulls ‘comedy’ faces it just doesn’t help matters.

Are We There Yet?
Video
If there’s one thing this movie has going for it then it’s the almost immaculate transfer it has been graced with. It’s a stunning piece, constantly bold, with each frame with as much detail crammed into it as possible. Flesh tones look very natural and the scenery is constantly solid. The problem with this is that the SFX for the mascot character looks very cheap and you can see how the CGI piece was overlaid onto each shot. Apart from this it’s a faultless transfer.

Audio
Unlike the movie, the soundtrack is a quality piece of work with some inspired uses of the rears to move the films narrative along. The heavy use of bass to punctuate the ‘comedy’ does sound really good as does the dialogue which is natural throughout the movies duration. There’s one piece to the soundtrack which should be on all releases, and that is the audio descriptive service. I know how this adds to the experience as my mother-in-law is blind and this sort of option helps her to enjoy current releases.

Are We There Yet?
Extras
There’s a decent sized extras section on this disc which starts with a director’s commentary from Barry Levant. He gives an enthusiastic and informative gag track; shame the film isn’t as interesting as he is. The blooper reel is as painfully unfunny as the movie and shows that these kids may have not had to act very much to be irritating! If watching people pratt about on set and laugh at each other for very little reason then this is for you. ‘Road Trippin’: The Making Of Are We There Yet?’ is a pretty good look behind the scenes and it’s a shame that all these people couldn’t get their talents together on this one.

Next a ‘Tour Of Nick’s Fine Sports Collectables’ is an excellent piece which shows you just how good the set design was on this movie. Director Brian Levant takes us through the shop pointing out all the rare merchandise, stuff that only gets maybe a second of screen time. The deleted scene lasts only seventy seconds and involves the children examining the interior of Nick’s new car. It hardly adds to the movie and makes the kids seem s even more loathsome. Three storyboard comparisons give a good insight into the production of the movie whilst the DVD Rom content has two games—‘Mess Up My Ride’ and ‘Road Trip’. These are basic but do have the cast making appearances just for these extras which is a nice touch. The CD Rom content gives links to other Sony sites and the option to sign up via email to receive info on forthcoming movies. Last part is the trailers section, which holds promos for Stuart Little 2, Stuart Little 3, Hitch, Spanglish and Matilda.

Are We There Yet?
Overall
Are We There Yet? Is a movie which tries to bring the humour of Home Alone into the 21st Century and fails miserably. It’s a sad experience and one for people who enjoy heavy handed slapstick.


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