Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen, Philip Daniel Bolden, Jay Mohr, Tracy Morgan (voice), Nichelle Nichols
Written by: Steven Gary Banks, Claudia Grazioso, J. David Stern, David N. Weiss
Directed by: Brian Levant
MPAA Rating: PG for language and rude humor
Running Time: 87
Date: 01/21/2005

Are We There Yet? (2005)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Road Trippin'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Much better than Meet the Fockers, this family-friendly film uses virtually the same batch of vomit jokes, pee jokes, slapstick, chases and exploding cars. But this time we have Ice Cube, who possesses a remarkable screen presence and star power, plus the ability to effortlessly switch from cuddly comedy to fearsome drama. Cube flows with the material instead of against it, immersing himself in it, no matter how embarrassed he might be. He plays Nick Persons, a sports collectibles dealer who volunteers to bring two kids from Oregon to Vancouver to impress a girl, the children's mother (Nia Long). The flimsy plot arranges vague excuses to avoid planes and trains and get the trio into an automobile, so that the rebellious children can wreck Nick's fancy new ride. None of the film's major events are very funny or interesting, but Cube manages a few delightfully funny and charming small moments in-between the big plot turns.

Tracy Morgan provides the voice for a Satchel Paige bobblehead that advises Nick from time to time. Jay Mohr co-stars, and Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura from "Star Trek") makes a "special appearance."

Director Brian Levant's resume reads like a list of Razzie winners: Problem Child 2, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Snow Dogs, Jingle All the Way, etc, proving that he has a history of pandering to children rather than appealing to them. Fortunately, for those who suffer through this mess, Cube's presence goes a long way in remedying that.

DVD Details: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released a special edition DVD in 2007 in anticipation of the upcoming sequel, Are We Done Yet?. The disc includes a "sneak peek," bloopers, deleted scenes, featurettes, a director commentary track, games and storyboards.

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