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Are We There Yet? (PG)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Director's commentary. Blooper reel. DVD ROM (with 2 games). 6 storyboard comparisons. Deleted scene. 2 featurettes: A Tour of Nick's fine sports collectibles and Road Trippin' - Making of. Theatrical trailer.

THERE is a point, early on, in the tepid comedy, Are We There Yet? when a 'bling-heavy' Ice Cube refers to children as 'cockroaches - except you can't squish them'.

Audiences might be willing him to do so come the end of the picture, given that the two brats (sorry, kids) that inhabit this particular adventure have to rate among the most obnoxious to have urinated and vomited their way across our screens for some time.

Are We There Yet? is supposed to be a feel-good family comedy for the holiday period. Instead, it's a nauseating road trip to hell that was even passed over by Adam Sandler (whose made his fair share of comic stinkers).

Ice Cube stars as child-hating sports memorabilia dealer, Nick, who unwittingly falls for the busty charms of Nia Long's single mother, Suzanne, despite being desperate to avoid the pitfalls of becoming a father-figure to her children, Lindsey (Aleisha Allen) and her younger brother, Kevin (Philip Daniel Bolden).

When the kids' real father 'pulls a sicky' rather than having them for New Year's Eve, however, Nick reluctantly agrees to take them to Suzanne in Vancouver, where she is supervising a function, believing it might just help him move from friend to lover.

What he doesn't count on, however, is the children's mean-spirited ability to thwart every red-blooded male who has designs on their mother.

Hence, what should have been a simple matter of escorting the children on an airplane to Vancouver rapidly becomes a personal nightmare for Nick, who is forced to drive them in his cherished Ford Explorer.

Needless to say, the children do everything in their power to ensure that Nick fails in his objective and stop at nothing in their quest to humiliate and frustrate him.

Far from being funny, however, the movie is just a catalogue of toilet jokes and drab set pieces that seem to be counting down to the inevitable dose of happily ever after sentiment.

Both Lyndsey and Kevin are excrutiatingly precocious and totally beyond redemption, while Suzanne offers little or no insight as to why Nick would be willing to go to such lengths to impress her.

Nick, too, comes with his own irritations, the most annoying of which is a computer-animated bobble-head doll of a baseball legend that attempts to provide him with a voice of reason throughout the journey.

Director, Brian Levant, fails to draw a single note-worthy performance from his lightweight cast and resorts to ever-more desperate measures to provide some excitement, even having the children convince a trucker that they have been kidnapped in their bid to be free from Nick.

Rather than calling the police, however, said trucker (played by MC Gainey) uses his vehicle as a battering ram, thereby placing the little ones in even more jeopardy.

It's a scene that pretty much sums up the moronic nature of proceedings.

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