What?! Nick Persons is a pure playa living it up in Portland until one day he falls hard for Suzanne, a single mom of two kids whose sole mission in life is to scare off their mother’s potential suitors. When Nick is asked to bring the kids to Vancouver for New Years, he sees an opportunity to get a little closer to her. Can he survive the trip with her two brats and get the girl? Find out in… Are We There Yet?!
Why?! Nick’s motivations are quite pure: he’s in love with Suzanne. For real, he’s like the sweetest dude ever. He drives her to work, takes her to the airport, helps her grocery shop, etc. All while accepting that he might end up deep in the friendzone. And so the motivation for driving her kids to Vancouver is all in the name of love. The kids’ motivation for making the trip a living nightmare (for Nick and the viewer) is also love… for their biological father. Unfortunately he turns out to be a giant doucher.
How?! Well, at first the trip should be super easy. Just fly the kids to Vancouver. A couple hours and boom, Nick’s heading to a baller New Year’s Eve kiss with the woman of his dreams. But things are never so easy in Hollywood. The son, Kevin, brings a corkscrew to the airport and gets them kicked off their flight. Then he has to go to the bathroom and generally fucks around until they miss their train (and seemingly lose all their luggage, though that’s never mentioned again). Finally they just decide to drive, where the kids proceed to destroy his car (for real, it eventually blows up), get him chased by truckers as a potential kidnapper, and delay them so badly that Suzanne is ready to call the cops. In the end, he’s just a good dude though, so despite all the ups and downs Suzanne realizes he’s the man for her. Hooray?
Who?! Super obvious planchet here: the animated Satchel Paige bobblehead that Nick carries everywhere and talks to. You read that right. That is an actual thing in this film. He is voiced by Tracey Morgan and, against all odds, was not scrapped during rewrites.
Where?! There should be a special Smaddies Baddies just for a film that is so perfectly and inexplicably set in a random place in the world. In this case this is set hard in Portland, Oregon. You might be like, “wait, an Ice Cube film set in Portland?” Yup, even the writers were surprised. At one point Nick jokes about how he obviously wasn’t born there, but rather moved there to play minor league baseball before settling down after an injury. They had to explain why it was set there because otherwise it would have been too crazy! A nice secondary setting in Vancouver. B+
When?! Even the temporal setting was random and yet perfect. It’s a holiday film! Nick is driving the kids to a New Year’s Eve event that their mother is working at in Vancouver. Deep down I kinda wish this was a Thanksgiving film, though. I feel like those are rarer. B.
‘Ello everyone! Are We There Yet? More like Is It Done Yet? Amirite? There come a time in an actor’s life where they are now believable as a father figure in a family comedy. For Ice Cube that time was 2005. Was it a family friendly laugh riot? Not really. Let’s go!
- The Good – I do think Ice Cube is a charming and accomplished actor and he manages to reasonably sustain the movie at times. The kid actors are also a lot better than one would expect. I’m always down for a little road trip comedy, kind of a rare thing these days.
- The Bad – Yet again Nia Long is relegated to the role of fretting actress on the side, spending most of the movie holding one-sided conversations in Vancouver, this is a trend. The plot is ludicrous and requires one of the worst excuses to prevent Ice Cube from simply taking a short plane trip from Portland to Vancouver instead of driving. The movie feels like a series of vignettes as opposed to a cohesive movie. This movie has one of the more ridiculous excuses for a song and dance number I’ve ever seen just to get the young girl to sing a bit. The sequences in Portland in retrospect also seem tacked on and unnecessary.
- The BMT – All in all I think the movie overshot its rotten tomatoes score. To get an 11% you need to be simply awful. This movie isn’t that awful. If you buy into it and enjoy seeing Ice Cube yell about damage to his precious new car over and over (and over) again, they you’ll probably think it isn’t so bad. I would say maybe a 25 BMeTric, middle of the pack.
I can’t really think of a good game here so I’m going to do a tiny Product Sklog-ment brought to you by McDonald’s. Da-da-da-da-da, we’re lovin’ it! In this case, if there was ever a Planchet in this film, it would be Ice Cube’s precious Lincoln Navigator. He buys it at the beginning of the film and he does not want children playing in it. But despite all his attempts the car is dented, it is stained, it is run off of the road destroying all four tires, and ultimately one of the kid vomits all over the interior and a final wreck results in it lighting on fire and exploding. As the magically bobblehead voiced by Tracy Morgan (and mysteriously missing from the sequel) says: “[His] insurance premiums are going to go through the roof!”, Classic. But this is one of the most in your face full-blown advertisements we’ve seen in a movie in a long while. Sandler-esque.