Movie Review: Are We Done Yet?
FILM REVIEW: ARE WE DONE YET?
By Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune Movie Critic
Calling a sequel "Are We Done Yet?" is like calling it "Enough Already." The film in question follows up on "Are We There Yet?" (2005), in which a couple of vicious yet heartwarming "Home Alone"-inspired preteens made Ice Cube's courtship of Nia Long a living heck before the happy ending.
This time Cube's character, Nick Persons, is fully in family comedy dad mode, having married Long and begun a new sports-themed magazine. Long's children are again played by young Philip Daniel Bolden and Aleisha Allen. Though the sequel never explains why they don't simply move into Nick's $60,000 Cadillac Escalade, the apartment they share (plus Long has twins on the way) cannot contain the hordes. So it's off to the Oregon countryside they go, to renovate a capacious fixer-upper.
The blueprints are provided by the 1948 Cary Grant/Myrna Loy comedy "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House." No classic, "Mr. Blandings" nonetheless had a machine-tooled efficiency, and it didn't strain to please. "Are We Done Yet?" strains. This sort-of "Blandings" remake is somewhat easier to take than "Are We There Yet?" But it's less of a pain only because the grim, artless physical comedy is less plentiful. Also it involves smaller critters: Instead of getting beaten up by a deer, Ice Cube's attacked by a raccoon.
The whole of it feels written and directed by the Escalade's GPS. Steve Carr is the credited director; Hank Nelken is the credited writer, and together they grind through one "Money Pit" bit after another. John C. McGinley is over-exploited as the family's manic jack-of-all-trades contractor, who in this corner of Oregon (or Canada, substituting for Oregon; filming is cheaper there; their government believes in subsidies) serves also as the local real-estate agent and "part-time midwife." He nets some laughs, but as "Wild Hogs" recently proved, neither McGinley's vulpine grin nor his eccentric timing are material-proof.
"Are We Done Yet?"
Directed by Steve Carr; screenplay by Hank Nelken, based on the RKO film "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House"; photographed by Jack Green; edited by Craig P. Herring; music by Teddy Castellucci; production design by Nina Ruscio; produced by Ted Hartley, Ice Cube, Matt Alvarez and Todd Garner. A Revolution Studios release. Running time: 1:32. MPAA rating: PG (some innuendoes and brief language).
Nick Persons - Ice Cube
Suzanne Persons - Nia Long
Chuck Mitchell Jr. - John C. McGinley