Are We There 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! To start the road trip extravaganza:

Are We There Yet? (2005) – BMeTric: 62.5

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arewethereyet_rv

(There are two interesting things in these graphs. First, I’m genuinely surprised at how high the BMeTric is. I would have assumed a film with a sequel wouldn’t have been a complete catastrophe. Second, if you ignore the initial uptick the rating is pretty stable over the years and at a surprisingly low 4.2(ish). All signs point to this being a simply terrible film. Can’t wait.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  If you wait long enough, just about anything can happen, including Ice Cube turning into Fred MacMurray. Actor Cube isn’t the problem here, but a stale premise is: the child-hating owner of a sports memorabilia store transports two headstrong kids over a long, disaster-prone trip to Vancouver, all to help hottie-mama Lond out of a scheduling ham while getting into her good graces. Before turning in this box-office success, director Levant did Problem Child 2 and Snow Dogs. Forewarned is forearmed.

(So much to unpack here. (1) Forewarned is forearmed? I honestly had never heard the phrase until now and it just seems so strangely out of place to me. And yet looking it up it dates to at least the 16th century and has been used throughout the years and has a quite literal meaning. (2) Calling out the director specifically for Problem Child 2, who do you think you are Leonard … me? (3) Name dropping Fred MacMurray in a review of an Ice Cube family comedy. All bold moves. Something just makes me love this entire review.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cn7IPP2bc5c

(Wow the music. I will say this though: this is a straight kids movie, why are we watching this and how are we going to judge it. Also the Paul Bunyan Ax would have seriously injured Ice Cube)

Directors – Brian Levant – (BMT: The Flintstones; The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; Are We There Yet?; Problem Child 2; Snow Dogs; Jingle All the Way; The Spy Next Door; Beethoven; Notes:  Won the Razzie Award in 1995 for Worst Screenplay for The Flintstones; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1997 for Worst Director for Jingle All the Way; Notable television writer starting his career on the Jeffersons and writing for other huge shows like Happy Days. He wrote Sklog childhood staple Problem Child 2. Egad, imagine doing that for BMT?! Gross.)

Writers – Steven Gary Banks and Claudia Grazioso (story & screenplay) – (BMT: Are We Done Yet?; Are We There Yet?; Notes: Writing duo. Not much about them … but their not-a-movie Family Dude seems to morph into Just Go With It, no? Just in Hawaii with Adam Sandler instead of Montana. That is kind of nuts, they must have landed Sandler and then cut Banks and Grazioso free. As a matter of fact I wonder if they were thinking of Just Go With It as the third Are We There Yet? movie starring Ice Cube as well. Would have had to be a different character though, he doesn’t need to pretend to have a family. But perhaps it was supposed to be Cube’s next PG film and he bailed in favor of better projects.)

David Stem (screenplay) – (Known For: Shrek 2; Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius; The Rugrats Movie; Rugrats in Paris; BMT: Daddy Day Camp; Are We There Yet?; The Smurfs (BMT); The Smurfs 2 (BMT); Clockstoppers; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Screenplay for Daddy Day Camp; The next two have also been writing partners since 1992. These guys worked on the Nickelodeon classic Roundhouse! Be still my beating heart. Is in the process of writing the sequel to Enchanted with Amy Adams.)

David N. Weiss (screenplay) – (Known For: Shrek 2; All Dogs Go to Heaven; Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius; The Rugrats Movie; Rugrats in Paris; BMT: Daddy Day Camp; Are We There Yet?; The Smurfs (BMT); The Smurfs 2 (BMT); Clockstoppers; Rock-A-Doodle; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Screenplay for Daddy Day Camp; Before he teamed up with Sterm this guy wrote All Dogs Go to Heaven and Rock-A-Doodle. I’m star struck over here. He’s written several children’s books and both Weiss and Stern were nominated for an Emmy as part of the writing team behind Rugrats.)

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: Slowly creeping up the ladder of BMT legends. Obviously most famous for being part of NWA and in my opinion he has made an incredible transition to acting. Seeing xXx 3 as non-BMT makes me sick to my stomach. Disgusting.)

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 (BMT); Held Up; Stigmata; Notes:  Against all odds these two movies will be the second and third Nia Long movies we’ve watched in this cycle alone! If only she had appeared in Big Momma Like Father Like Son. The younger half-sister of comedian Sommore)

Also stars Aleisha Allen (who was in School of Rock)

Budget/Gross – $32 million / Domestic: $82,674,398 (Worldwide: $97,918,663)

(That is a pretty significant success so not shocking they made a sequel. Anything near $100 million is quite good for a comedy.)

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

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(This comes in right above a recent BMT (Cheaper by the Dozen) and far above Hall of Fame inductee Old Dogs. Naturally right at the peak of as genre which may or may not attempt a comeback soon. The fact that zero films have been placed in this genre on Box Office Mojo since 2013 makes me think the odds aren’t good.)

#10 for the Comedy – Road Trip genre

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(I love it! I feel like we haven’t seen a “novel” trend in one of these in a while. Here the genre was put to quite the long term test from around 2000-2010. Given how there was an intense burst with Dumb and Dumber in 1995 and then the genre slowly climbed its was back to reasonable box office returns, I’m surprised by the lull in 2010. If I were to guess it is, like many other things, a genre that kind of got pushed to the side as tentpoles were being hastily assembled. It is nice to see that it has recovered and has not been relegated to VOD forevermore … although recent ones have not been great including the sequel to the aforementioned Dumb and Dumberer. This came in near the reviled Tammy. BMT classic Wild Hogs came in number one, where’s my sequel?!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (13/116): This supposed family comedy staring [sic] the usually blameless Ice Cube and Nia Long has provoked most critics to write, “Is it over yet?”

(Hilarious type in the consensus. Not actually as uncommon as you would think. For an initial movie in a two part series that score is very very low. Supposed comedy is a little concerning. Sounds … boring.)

Poster – Are We Sklog Yet? (C-)

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(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. Here the font is OK and the visual tells me a story so not a total loss. For the record: it would still be really easy to make Are We Sklog Yet?)

Tagline(s) – 24 hours. 350 miles. His girlfriend’s kids. What could possibly go wrong? (D-)

(That is for real the tagline for this film and it is terrifying. Like the worst. Can’t give it an F though cause it does give me some tantalizing details about the plot. What could possibly go wrong indeed.)

Keyword(s) – car fire; Top Ten by BMeTric: 62.5 Are We There Yet? (2005); 62.3 The Last Exorcism Part II (2013); 59.9 Cell (I) (2016); 56.7 The 5th Wave (2016); 55.7 Spring Breakers (2012); 53.2 Cold Creek Manor (2003); 49.9 Point Break (2015); 46.1 Sleepwalkers (1992); 42.1 The Black Dahlia (2006); 41.6 Southland Tales (2006);

(Thinking about it I can’t wait to watch Southland Tales. Somehow that has just flown under the radar for years. Otherwise a sparse list with the 5th Wave seeming particularly weak … kind of amazing it is near 60 BMeTric at the moment)

Notes – Ice Cube’s first PG-rated movie. (And I think this series is his only foray into that genre. Prob will stay that way I would think)

Actor Ice Cube stated on Late Night with Conan O’Brien (1993) that this film was originally intended as an Adam Sandler vehicle. (Jeez, that makes a ton of sense)

Despite the film’s title, “Are We There Yet?” is only said once in the film. (Small blessings)

Kevin said his mom (Nia Long) thinks Nick is better looking than Taye Diggs. Nia Long and Taye Diggs played love interests in The Best Man and The Best Man Holiday. (fun facts)

When Nick is asked what Suzanne’s kids names are, he answers ‘Theo and Rudy [Huxtable]’ from The Cosby Show (1984). (ooooof that joke has not aged well to say the least)

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