Are We Done Yet? Preview

Onwards and upwards to Chain Reaction. After painting ourselves into a corner last year we finally fully extricated ourselves from the mess by landing on Ride Along 2. This cycle we get to move from that to the Are We There Yet? Series through Ice Cube. While this is not the worst reviewed set of films in history (that would obviously go to Baby Geniuses and Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 with a shocking 2% and 0% RT scores, respectively), this is pretty spectacular in its own right with 11% and 8% RT scores for the two films. Also, it has the strange distinction of having the first film be totally original and then having the second film be a remake of the Cary Grant film Mr. Blanding Builds His Dream House (that was in turn based on a book which itself was expanded from a short story). Sometimes you can’t make this shit up. Let’s go! Finish up the week’s previews with the home-reno laugh-fest installment of the mega-franchise:

Are We Done Yet? (2007) – BMeTric: 64.7

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(Unlike its predecessor I’m not very surprised with how these graphics look because it is a sequel to a terrible film. I am rather delighted by how close the BMeTrics are (Are We There Yet? has a BMeTric of 62.5). The rating does regress to the mean more this time, although perhaps the rating is just rising to reach the equally terrible Are We There Yet?? I don’t know. Nice 2011 inflection like usual. Clockwork at this point.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Inevitable sequel to Are We There Yet? Is also an official remake of the 1948 comedy Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (complete with RKO Radio PIctures logo), but Ice Cube isn’t Cary Grant and this script is much more bland than Blandings. Premise is basically the same: a man moves his growing family out of the crowded city and into his “dream house” in the suburbs, where everything goes wrong. Endlessly unfunny slapstick antics may have you looking at your watch and asking the real question: “Is it over yet?”

(Ugh, much more bland? As a person who has now seen Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House … I’m skeptical a movie could be more bland. Or at least I hope Are We Done Yet? isn’t as frustrating. I was squirming in my seat and only survived because of the telegraphed happy ending. Sigh.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op8AlTe5Js8

(Boooooo. These don’t look like fun bad movies, they look like bad boring movies. You better not bore me for three hours. Give me something to latch onto, a little lifesaver I can float on in the rocking bad movie seas.)

Directors – Steve Carr – (Known For: Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life; Dr. Dolittle 2; BMT: Movie 43 (BMT); Are We Done Yet?; Paul Blart: Mall Cop (BMT); Daddy Day Care; Rebound; Next Friday; Notes:  Won the Razzie Award in 2014 for Worst Director for Movie 43; Wouldn’t be surprising to complete this guy’s filmography in the not-too-distant-future. Used to be a music video director and got his start with Next Friday after directing one of Ice Cube’s music videos. Currently attached to the terribly named Cinderfella which has a perfectly obvious plotline … it is Cinderella by the opposite.)

Writers – Hank Nelken (screenplay & screen story) – (BMT: Are We Done Yet?; Saving Silverman; Mama’s Boy; Notes: The only screenwriter on this project it would seem as the others are credited for either Are We There Yet? or the “original movie” Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. This guy has a true blue pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps story starting in Mississippi and Texas making Bar Mitzvah videos and ultimately in Hollywood. He has no credits since 2011, but I would guess he’s been working behind the scenes for a while. He was at one point attached to a remake of the film Outlaw Blues.)

Steven Gary Banks and Claudia Grazioso (characters) – (BMT: Are We Done Yet?; Are We There Yet?; Notes: Wrote the predecessor Are We There Yet? Their note in that preview is quite interesting as it would seem they were tapped to write Just Go With It (probably with the intention of starring Ice Cube) which was eventually made without these guys and with Adam Sandler starring instead.)

Norman Panama (screenplay) – (Known For: Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House; White Christmas; The Court Jester; Road to Utopia; My Favorite Blonde; BMT: Are We Done Yet?; Notes: Long time writing partner with Frank. It is kind of amazing to see one of the founding partnerships of Hollywood, they started writing together at the University of Chicago in 1942! They only have a credit on this film because Are We Done Yet? Is apparently an adaptation of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, which is in turn based on a book, which was expanded from an original short story. I find it nuts that they so explicitly consider it an adaptation, the movie was made in 1950!)

Melvin Frank (screenplay) – (Known For: Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House; White Christmas; The Court Jester; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; A Touch of Class; Road to Utopia; My Favorite Blonde; BMT: Are We Done Yet?; The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox; Notes: Long time writing partner with Panama. Considered to be by far the more successful of the two because after going their separate ways in the 1960s Frank continued to direct (including the Oscar winning film A Touch of Class) and produce. Fun fact: I’ve always meant to watch The Court Jester because it stars a young Angela Lansbury and I am a Murder She Wrote mega-fan. Not joking.)

Actors – Ice Cube – (Known For: xXx: Return of Xander Cage; 21 Jump Street; Friday; The Book of Life; 22 Jump Street; Boyz n the Hood; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; Three Kings; Barbershop; Rampart; Higher Learning; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; Trespass; The Glass Shield; The Longshots; BMT: xXx²: State of the Union (BMT); Anaconda; Torque (BMT); Are We Done Yet?; Ghosts of Mars (BMT); Are We There Yet?; First Sunday; Lottery Ticket; Ride Along 2 (BMT); Friday After Next; I Got the Hook Up; All About the Benjamins; Dangerous Ground; Ride Along (BMT); Next Friday; The Players Club; Notes: It is always weird writing two previews back to back when the same actors are in both. I’ll just say that I would put him right up there with The Rock as far as people who I would watch in a movie based on charm alone.)

Nia Long – (Known For: Friday; Keanu; Boyz n the Hood; Boiler Room; Alfie; Soul Food; The Best Man; The Best Man Holiday; Lemon; Roxanne Roxanne; The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy; BMT: Big Momma’s House 2 (BMT); Are We Done Yet?; Are We There Yet?; Big Momma’s House (BMT); Made in America; Premonition; The Single Moms Club; Held Up; Stigmata; Notes: Same as with Ice Cube, this is the third little write up I’ve done for here in about a month.  I would think Premonition is the last major BMT left in her filmography … which does actually qualify for our next planned cycle, Films That Got <10% on Rotten Tomatoes. So maybe a fourth Nia Long vehicle is coming our way.)

John C. McGinley – (Known For: Se7en; The Belko Experiment; Platoon; Office Space; Point Break; Identity; The Rock; Any Given Sunday; Wall Street; 42; Born on the Fourth of July; World Trade Center; Set It Off; Kid Cannabis; Nixon; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening (BMT); The Animal; Are We Done Yet?; On Deadly Ground (BMT); Alex Cross (BMT); Get Carter (BMT); Summer Catch; Stealing Harvard; Car 54, Where Are You?; Get a Job; Wagons East; Wild Hogs (BMT); Three to Tango; Notes: I love McGinley and will look forward to completing his BMT filmography one day. Five movies is incredibly impressive. Favorite fact from IMDb? Raised in Millburn, NJ, and attended Millburn Senior High School, the alma mater of Anne Hathaway. Fun because that means he attended the same high school as bad movie mega-star Elliot Kalan of the Flop House, The Daily Show, and producer for the remake of Mystery Science Theater 3000.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $49,662,533 (Worldwide: $58,388,068)

(Interesting that there is no budget, so I can only really comment with regards to what I would consider to be a successful comedy and expectations given the first film. Considering that the first film got close to what I would call a comedy hit ($100 million) this was probably a disappointment. Perhaps it is why, I think, Ice Cube has not starred in a PG film since.)

#21 for the Comedy – Fish-Out-of-Water Father genre

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(Ah sliding right in there as the genre is dying. Classic. This came in right around Hall of Fame nominee Old Dogs. As I said in the Are We There Yet? preview the genre could potentially be dead? There hasn’t been a new contribution since 2013. Bumbling father is a classic though, I feel like it’ll come back.)

#59 for the Comedy – Sequel (Live Action) genre

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(Ride Along 2, Paul Blart 2, Big Momma 2, Be Cool and last week’s Miss Congeniality 2 are all live action comedy sequels we’ve seen in the last year or so! Coming in a shade above Miss Congeniality 2 is not a good look, and it came just as the genre was taking a little financial nap. Once they see a bit of money they bleed any and all potential franchises dry, that includes terrible family comedies with Ice Cube.)

#21 for the Comedy Remake genre

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(Ooooooo right at the end of producers yelling to their assistants: “Hey, Carl, what sweet IP we got?” and getting the response “Uh, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House from 1948” … “Make that a sequel to something”. This comes in right above Yours, Mine and Ours (2005) and the genre has taken quite a hit recently with very few productions and a lackluster return from Ghostbusters.)

#20 for the Family – Remake genre

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(……. these last two graphics are basically the same. So yeah, Family/Comedy Remakes aren’t doing so hot. Actually, most comedy remakes are probably family oriented if the source material was from before the 80’s now that I think of it. This came in just below the classic Angels in the Outfield. Recently Jungle Book was a smash hit … wait a minute, these graphs don’t include the live action remakes of the Disney movies like Cinderella. That doesn’t really make sense but whatever.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (7/93): Are We Done Yet? plays it way too safe with generic slapstick and uninspired domestic foibles.

(Less than 10% on rotten tomatoes is very rare, and more so when you consider that the film garnered almost 100 reviews. I think I can turn my brain off and enjoy generic slapstick. The domestic foibles on the other hand …)

Poster – Are Sklogs Done Yet? (D+)

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(This is the same poster as for the last one so why not copy that: There is a whole class of posters that a similar to this that I just hate, hate, hate. Too much empty space and not enough stylization of the characters on the poster. The font is still okay and, bonus, making Are Sklogs Done Yet? would be a bit harder because so much stuff is all over the title. I docked a grade because they plagiarized themselves.)

Tagline(s) – New house. New family. What could possibly go wrong? (F)

(Fuck this. This is the same as the last tagline too!! The last tagline was: 24 hours. 350 miles. His girlfriend’s kids. What could possibly go wrong? Everything. We get it. Everything can and will go wrong.)

Keyword(s) – renovation; Top Ten by BMeTric: 80.8 Home Alone 3 (1997); 74.1 Prom Night (I) (2008); 64.7 Are We Done Yet? (2007); 56.5 Poltergeist III (1988); 46.1 Meet the Browns (2008); 40.2 Xanadu (1980); 33.3 From Prada to Nada (2011); 26.4 Psychosis (I) (2010); 25.9 Baby Mama (2008); 24.1 Dark Shadows (2012);

(I think this is the first time I’ve found a keyword where we haven’t seen any of the movies. Xanadu will happen soon enough I think. Besides that though I don’t really see any of the others on the BMT horizon.)

Notes – A quote from Nick, “I don’t know karate, but I know ka-razay!” when he’s confronting Chuck, are actually lyrics from James Brown’s 1974 single “The Payback” from the album of the same name.

Shipped to theaters under the name “Needs Work” (I honestly hate these “fun” facts. It just never seems all that important what a movie shipped as, nor are they ever clever or funny)

When Nick tells Chuck, who is played by John C. McGinley, that he feels good sitting on a private toilet, Chuck says, “Feeling good is good enough.” That line is said by Willem Dafoe in the 1986 Oscar winner Platoon, which stars McGinley. (Fun fact I guess)

Ice Cube was approached to do another sequel, but declined, saying that he wanted to go in a different direction. He then proposed that the movie idea be turned into a TV show, which it did: Are We There Yet? (2010). (Smart. Ice Cube seems like a smart dude. My guess is he realized he didn’t want to be shoehorned into family comedies like Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, and Martin Lawrence seemed to be. Also my guess as to why the writers got dropped from Just Go With It when they realized they couldn’t get Cube)

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