Are We Done Yet? That’s not just the title of this film, it’s a form of the question you’ll be asking repeatedly during the film’s runtime, until you eventually reach a climax of desperation and cry out for all to hear, “For the love all that is good and pure in this world, when will it end?” Not soon enough, my friend. Not soon enough.
Should you find yourself watching this torturously stupid sequel to 2005’s Are We There Yet?, all I can say is, you should have known better. While opinions about movies are subjective, this one’s a special case that allows me to say with 100% confidence: if you liked Are We Done Yet? you deserve a big ol’ smack upside the head.
I will allow one small caveat. If you’re a big John C. McGinley fan, you may be forgiven for checking out this film to see your man do his thing. Best known for his role as the fast-talking, cantankerous Dr. Cox on TV’s Scrubs, McGinley does deserve some credit for his valiant attempt to save this movie from its inevitable failure. The man chews up every one of his scenes, throwing out all of the stops to offset what has to be the lamest script of the millennium.
But one man can only do so much. And you have to ask yourself, why on Earth was McGinley involved in this project? This is film that should never have been re-made, about a story that should never have been re-told. That’s right, Are We Done Yet? is a re-make of a 1948 film, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. While I haven’t seen the original, I have no doubt that it was 1,000 times better. Where the ’48 film starred legendary, award-winning actor Cary Grant, the re-make features Ice Cube, in all his bad-acting glory. The original had a script by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, a pair who earned many awards and multiple Oscar nominations throughout their careers. In contrast, Ice Cube worked from a script by Hank Nelken, the writer behind such hits as Saving Silverman and Killer Bud. Enough said.
If you’ve read this far and still want to know what the movie’s about, I’ll do my best to satisfy your curiosity, but I’m only doing one sentence. Are We Done Yet? is a film about a man who moves out to the country with his family to find their dream home, ends up with the biggest fixer-upper of all time, and while everything possible goes wrong, he puts everything on the line to make it work. There you have it. It may sound like harmless fun on paper, but trust me, the execution ruins everything.
Are We Done Yet? is presented on one disc, in 1.85:1 widescreen format. I hope you won’t watch this movie, but if you do you can take some small comfort in the fact that it at least has a decent transfer. The picture is sharp, colours are suitably vibrant and there are no noticeable issues with compression or source artifacts. Every time I see a good film with a poor video presentation, I’m going to think of Are We Done Yet? and ponder all of the injustice in our world.
Audio for Are We Done Yet? is available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Thai. That means people all over the world can be tortured by this film in their native tongue. As for the quality of said audio, I can only speak to the English. Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, the movie sounds just fine. This isn’t a particularly bombastic film, but there are some more effects-laden sequences on top of the usual soundtrack, cookie-cutter score and ridiculously bad dialogue. Overall, the mix is well balanced, so no complaints here.
Subtitles are available in all of the above languages, along with Chinese (Mandarin, I assume) and Korean.
Since after viewing Are We Done Yet? you’ll naturally be dying for more, you’ll be happy to know there’s a handful of extras on the disc waiting to further enhance your viewing experience. If you haven’t raked out your own eyes by this point, you can watch the following extras:
- Kidding Around On Set: this here making-of featurette offers you a behind-the-scenes tour of the set and production facilities, guided along by the actors who play Ice Cube’s kids in the movie. Since they have very little to do in the actual film, it makes sense to give them more “scenes” on the DVD, I suppose.
- Bloopers: the fact that this group can’t string together three minutes of laughs in this collection of bloopers doesn’t surprise me in the least. I did enjoy watching McGinley do take-after-take-after-take, though. The man’s a machine!
- Film Quiz: hosted by one of the kids, this is a time-consuming, multiple-choice quiz about a few scenes in the film. They show a clip, and then he pauses to ask the question. You don’t actually use the remote to choose your answers, you’re just supposed to keep track. Woo, what fun…
- Chuck Mitchell Jr., Jack of All Trades: a featurette all about John C. McGinley’s character. It runs about five minutes, and basically just tells you what you already know from watching the movie. Seems like McGinley actually had fun making the film, though.
What more can I say? This film just plain sucks, but the DVD presentation is not bad at all. I’m sure that will make someone happy, but I can’t imagine who.