Family pictures usually miss when viewed by a lonely dvd reviewer who has nothing better to do on a saturday morning. There are no kids to laugh at the bad jokes and slapstick mayhem, there are no wives to go awwwww and marvel at the cute kids. All that one man can hope for is a decent lead who provides thought provoking characterisms and smart laughs. Wait, I’m watching Are We There Yet?, so I have pretty much no chance of that. Are We There Yet? is the stor… of Nick Persons (played by Ice Cube) who just bought a Lincoln Navigator (good blatant advertising to start a film off of) and works at the local fine sports collectibles shop. One day he spots a fine woman ( Nia Long as Suzanne Kingston) and wants to ask her out until he realizes she has two kids (been there, done that) Lindsey and Kevin (played by Aleisha Allen and Philip Bolden respectively. After another brief encounter he decides to pursue her anyway and gets introduced into the friend zone. He tries to break out of the zone and is unsuccessful until an opportunity arises when somebody is needed to escort the kids to meet her in Vancouver for New Year’s eve. So from there, we get Ice Cube and two terrible kids in and out of a Navigator for an hour and a half. Hilarity, mayhem and a single dvd reviewer who wishes to impale himself with blunt objects ensue.
First of all, this film is beyond cliche. That means, it contains every single one somebody could think of for a family film. Single mother with two kids who drive off her potential dates, check. Rapper wanna be with bling bling and foul attitude hates kids but wants this sexy mama, check. SUV gets beat to a pulp, check. Karaoke singing kid provides heartwarming moment, check. I would go on, but at some point my website might shoot me for indecency. Somewhere inside me, I want to like this film. Problem is, that part of me also wanted to wear parachute pants. There is thankfully a few decent supporting roles worthy of mention. Among those include Tracy Morgan as the voice of the Satchel Paige bobble head doll (cool homage to a legendary baseball pitcher), M.C. Gainey as Big Al (the trucker), and Nichelle Nichols as Miss Mable who some of you might remember as Uhura from Star Trek fame.
This film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and is excellent at what it does. The picture is clear and free of grain. Everybody looks good especially Nia Long, who I could watch for an hour and a half by herself. (Unfortunately we get her for about 20-30 minutes of screen time). However, there is nothing here that I can cast down upon of note.
Sound is given to us in four languages. English, Portuguese, Spanish in 5.1 (Ice Cube is popular in Portugal; who knew) and French for a 2.0 mix. The sound is good, but mostly on front channels. The scenes where surround would have been helpful aren’t overly good or overly bad. Mostly this falls into the category of neither noticed nor cared for. Subtitles are also provided, in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. Of note, the film was shot with DTS, but it did not make it to the DVD.
Director’s Commentary : Director Brian Levant tries his best to provide a screen specific commentary but fails miserably. A truly horrid little commentary where he seems wrapped up in himself more than the film and usually elaborates on things in the film that happen ten minutes later. Not very interesting or useful.
Raising the Roof: Sneak Peek of Are We Done Yet? 3:30: The whole purpose this re-release of this dvd was made, to include a trailer and tiny snippet of the sequel. I’m dying inside.
Blooper Reel 8:00: The usual blooper reel for a family film; some good moments but nothing too noteworthy.
Road Trippin: Making of Are We There Yet? 21:00: A behind the scenes look at everybody who was included; I’ve washed my hands at this point, I’m just not trying to go blind.
A Tour of Nick’s Fine Sports Collectibles 5:00: Wow, one shining moment in these extras of interesting material and some really cool stuff about throwback jerseys and baseball info.
Deleted Scene 1:00: Not even really a deleted scene, just a longer scene about the kids and Cube and Miss Mable before they get into the Navigator.
Storyboard Comparisons(3): A few storyboard comparisons for those of us who likes these things. They include Truck Stop / Kids steal the Navigator, Kids on the Train / Nick on the Horse, Kevin Vomits on the Windshield (because my life would not be complete if vomit was not storyboarded).
Play Games! (DVD-PC): Two games to amuse yourself with for about 3 minutes, 1 for each game and 1 to figure out why my feet are numb and my headache won’t go away.
Trailers (7): Seven trailers including Are We Done Yet?, Daddy Day Camp, Open Season, Surf’s Up, RV, Monster House & Zoom..
DVD Re-releases for sequels scream nonsense especially when it is the same features with a different dvd cover (with a shot of Nia Long who is never with her kids in the car at the same time and a deer who appears for 2 minutes of the film) and a couple of promos for the sequel. It’s just an attempt for mo’ money. The film has every cliche in the book and tries for humor but fails at most points. (Tracy Morgan as Satch and Nichelle Nichols as Miss Mable are the only times where I honestly and consistently laughed). Truth be told, I enjoyed Ice Cube in Babershop, Friday, and even Ghosts of Mars (yes, I saw and own that flic)…but I feel left alone in this flic. True, Nia Long is extremely easy on the eyes and the film looks and sounds good and has a host of extras. But when you realize that the film can’t hold up, all the quality, sound, extras and attractiveness in the world can’t save it. Now, excuse me while I breathe freely and just wish that the sequel is not in my dvd reviewing future (nor Daddy Day-Camp)or my pets might check in themselves for therapy.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- Sneak Peek of Are We Done Yet?
- Blooper Reel
- Behind the Scenes of Are We There Yet?
- A Tour of Nick’s Fine Sports Collectibles
- Deleted Scene
- Storyboard Comparisons (3)
- Play Games! (2 DVD-PC games)
- Trailers (7)