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January 2005

By Wilson Morales

Are We There Yet?

Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Director: Brian Levant
Producers: Matt Alvarez, Ice Cube & Dan Kolsrod
Screenwriters: Steven Gary Banks & Claudia Grazioso
Cast: Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen, Phillip Bolden, Jay Mohr, & Tracey Morgan




Ice Cube has been a pioneer in this business by creating all sorts of genre that it's hard to imagine that he hasn't done a film for the entire family. From the "Friday" films and the "Barbershop" franchise, he has reinvented the game and produced hit after hit and introducing us to a new talent in each film such as Chris Tucker, and Mike Epps. Nia Long, who was featured with Ice Cube in "Boyz N the Hood" as well as "Friday", is coming back in the business after taking some time off from the big screen and becoming a mother as well as being part of the TV show, "Third Watch" on NBC. With that said, the both of them are teaming up once again to do something that kids and parents can enjoy. Unfortunately, while there are a few laughs, "Are We There Yet?" has one too many gags that should have been edited from jump start. This is a clichéd film that features black folks. In "Home Alone", one could root for the kid to do his thing, but in this film, the kids are so obnoxious that the message the film is trying to send out is wrong and unsuccessful.

Cube plays Nick, a sports memorabilia dealer who fancies himself as a ladies'man. When he spots Suzanne (Long) who across the street, he can't but go over to her and charm his way into her life. For a few minutes, things start to look good until she mentions she has two kids and he runs back into his store. Seems like Nick doesn't kids for they are a distraction. Her kids, Lindsey (Allen) and Kevin (Bolden) are not likeable kids. Since mom is separated or divorced from their dad, they do their very best to deter anyone from preventing a reconciliation of their parents. While Nick does his best to stay away from Suzanne, her smile and charm are too hard to resist. When Nick drives Suzanne to the airport for a New Year's Eve event and the kid's dad reneges on a promise to be with them, Nick offers to drive the kids to see their mom. The trip becomes hell for Nick as the kids do their best to annoy him with stunt after stunt. Besides damaging his car and making him look like a kidnapper, he has to endure the long trip with them.

There are other gags in the film that simply wasn't funny at all. Tracy Morgan, a comedian who at times is bearable, is at his worst playing a bobbing doll of baseball great Satchel Page. The jokes are lame and he appears one time too many. Long is barely in the film, appearing sporadically that anyone could have played her part. Cube is following the script and he seems to be having a good time but even he at times plays his roles with blandness. The stars of the film are really the kids for they are charming, and obnoxious. At the same, they are sending out the wrong message. Director Levant must have been going for the guts when trying to present laughter out of you. His gags are too extreme and forced. Adam Sandler was supposed to be the lead of this film and he could have taken it to another level and get away with jokes, but not Cube. He's just doesn't have the funny bones to pull it off.