While watching this film, Judge Ryan Keefer had his air conditioner checked, a garage door opener put in, and a ceiling fan installed. We'll let you guess which activity was the most entertaining.
New house. New family. What could possibly go wrong?
In my review of the Norbit HD DVD, I expressed my frustration not only at the substandard quality of the film, but the fact that the box office would probably warrant a sequel. And chances are the sequel would probably suck, because its predecessor did. Are We Done Yet? is a sequel to Are We There Yet?, a family film of presumably poor quality which made over $80 million. Was it really better the second time around?
Facts of the Case
In a surprise, the film is apparently a remake of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, but it seems like this is done to give the film some sort of lineage, along with being a sequel. Apparently in the first film, Nick (Ice Cube, Friday) meets Suzanne (Nia Long, Premonition) and her children and takes them on a road trip, to prove to them all that he can be a family man. So now that they're a family, Nick renounces his former bachelor ways and decides to move the kids out to the country, where they buy a large house on a sprawling parcel of land from Chuck (John C. McGinley, Scrubs). The house turns out to be a bit of a cash strain, so they try to renovate it to how it looks when they first saw it, all the while dealing with various incarnations, nay personalities of Chuck. The strain takes a toll on the family, but hopefully Nick can keep them and the house together.
I'm a fan of rap music, with its strong urban message of looking to break out from the oppression that the system and environmental impasses on them on an almost daily basis. And a lot of profound things have been said by many of rap's performers, including the man in this film. But there comes a point where they simply become parodies of themselves, and in seeing Snoop Dogg on a recent episode of Monk, combined with Ice Cube's starring role in movies like this, the question in my mind seems to be at what point do these guys lose their street cred and turn in their urban icon cards? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy their music and I respect their desire for more mainstream success as much as the next guy, but when is enough enough?
Are We Done Yet? is the purest form of truth in advertising. There is a complete void of creativity whatsoever. It's basically Funny Farm meets The Money Pit, subtract any sort of humor or imagination. And much like anything so universally bad, there is some collateral damage in the film too. McGinley is a respectable actor whom my wife and I both like, predominantly from Scrubs. So while I'm not asking what the hell he's doing in a film like this (never mind that that question should be asked at some point), the general impression my wife and I got after seeing this is that we loathe John C. McGinley for doing this film. He literally wears several different hats in the film, and sports a different persona for each, be it a flintly metrosexual or a gruff policeman, but they all seem to sport that Perry Cox obnoxious longwinded nature. Which is fine for 22 minutes, but here it's four times that, and not a lot of help from his co-star, the guy who wrote the charming little ditty "Gangsta Gangsta." Cube is not a bad actor, but sometimes he's hit or miss, and this one is nowhere near the letters that spell "target." And Nia Long has appeared in two of the worst reviewed movies of 2007 as of this writing. Congrats Nia, we loved you in Soul Food, but at this point, you've got to be a five alarm warning sign to any actor that is given a script with your name anywhere attached to it.
I really hope I'm not coming across as too bitter when it comes to my experience with Are We Done Yet?, but at this point, I'm not sure what else there is left to say. In between Cube appearing in this, and Snoop covering a song written by fricken' Randy Newman, I'm getting old, and I just don't like it. It was like the first time I heard U2 on the "oldies" radio station in my area, it unnerved me to the point of going on a three day margarita binge. Honey, fire up the blender!
Sony gives Are We Done Yet? the usual treatment of a 1080p transfer with an MPEG-4 codec. It looks perfectly acceptable by all impressions, and was the first film I played on my PS3 Blu-ray player following a recent download that allows for 1080p24 playback on the console. Everything was nice and fluid. The PCM soundtrack provided crisp and clear sound, so the torture was visually and sonically satisfactory. The extras are pretty minimal, almost as if no one cared that this came out on video. There's a making of look at the film that's about five minutes long, along with a separate look at the character McGinley plays, and a blooper reel that is arguably the least funny one I've seen on a disc. So in short, the extras are as forgettable as the movie.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
The only, and I mean only thing that will remotely crack an unfunny visage is that near the end, is where there's a scene of McGinley's character power walking to the Persons' house. He was sporting nuthugger shorts in his journey over. But if he insisted on not chafing during the scene, couldn't someone spare me the exposure of the preceding ninety 90 that led to that moment? Who do I go to for this?
The Are We pair of films has now grossed over $120 million. I've stopped begging and pleading, and am now appealing for congressional legislature on this. If you're a parent and you're taking your kids to see this stuff, I will call protective services on you, because there are far better things to expose your child to. Run, do not walk, past this thing on the video shelf.
Sony should be ashamed for ever greenlighting this thing. Everyone, even McGinley, is found guilty, and forced to watch every other poorly produced Sony sequel until they promise to learn the error of their ways.
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