Rapper Ice Cube has had a fairly successful acting career, but no one was prepared to see him in the family film Are We There Yet? A completely routine family comedy, the movie still grossed over $82 million at the box office, more than enough to qualify it for a sequel, which we now have in the form of Are We Done Yet?
Picking up where the last picture left off, we now find Nick (Ice Cube) married to Suzanne (Nia Long), and she and her two kids, Lindsey (Aleisha Allen) and Kevin (Philip Daniel Bolden), have moved into Nick's condo with him. Things are crammed enough as it is when Suzanne announces she's pregnant -- with twins! Nick knows his condo is strained for space as it is, so he sets out to find a house in the country. The first one they see, they're convinced to purchase by the overly cheery real estate agent, Chuck (John C. McGinley). And so, off they move to their dream home, despite the kids' protests. Too soon, however, Nick discovers that this dream house requires a little work. Well, okay, a lot of work. And the only licensed contractor in town is...Chuck! Yes, Chuck is also the local house inspector, which I think is actually a conflict of interest, but hey, it's only a movie. Anyhoo, Chuck soon ingratiates himself with Nick's family, much to Nick's consternation, and finds problem after problem after problem with the house. Will Nick be able to cope with life in the country? Will he have the money to pay for all the repairs? Will he be able to stop himself from strangling Chuck?
Are the answer to any of those questions actually in doubt? No, they're not, because Are We Done Yet? is as generic and uninspired as its predecessor. In fact, it's more so, because it's actually a remake of another film. I notice the blurb on the cover says "Perfect Family Entertainment" but it's not, because actual family entertainment would be a Pixar film, or something from the Jim Henson studios, etc. Movies like these, while not out and out awful, are thoroughly mediocre and clog the box office. Movies like Are We Done Yet? are easily greenlit because they're inoffensive and purposely middle of the road. I'm not saying every movie has to take chances, reinvent the wheel, or be utterly brilliant, but I didn't laugh once during the movie, and this is meant to be a comedy.
The best part of the film by far is John C. McGinley. McGinley has been honing his comedic chops in the acclaimed NBC sitcom Scrubs, and while the material he has to work with here is nowhere near the sublime writing on that show, his charisma still comes through loud and clear. Regardless of the content, it's always enjoyable to see him on the screen. Ice Cube and Nia Long are both serviceable in their roles, neither good nor bad, just there. The kids are insufferable. Most child actors are actors in name only, and these kids have no screen presence, and the daughter is just flat out bad. Every line, every look screams amateur.
What else is there to be said? If you liked the first movie, you'll like this one. If you want your family entertainment to actually entertain your family, I suggest looking somewhere else.
The Blu-ray Disc: