Are We Done Yet?

Are We Done Yet?


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Ice Cube is box shaped and not the right colour for a mint julep. His talent as a rap singer is acknowledged amongst those who hang with the hip hop crowd. His skill as an actor – in this case, an African-American repro of Cary Grant – depends upon your definition of charm. Nick, in Are We Done Yet?, behaves with the sensitivity of a mule and the intelligence of Scooby-Doo’s cousin Scooby-Duh.

Based on Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) with Grant, remade as The Money Pit (1985) with Tom Hanks, the story has classic comic potential – innocents from the city buy a mansion in the country, which is in such bad repair it requires the help of local contractors and tradesmen, who turn out to be cowboys, resulting in destructive chaos.

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Nick is married to Suzanne (Nia Long) and lives with her children, 14-year-old Lindsey (Aleisha Allen) and 12-year-old Kevin (Philip Bolden), in a cramped city apartment. He’s trying to launch a sports magazine which, for some reason, requires the patronage, or involvement, of ex-basketball star Magic Johnson. Suzanne is infinitely sensible and long suffering, while Nick complains all the time and thinks he’s right about everything. Lindsey may be a budding teenage brat and Kevin as sharp as a needle, but that’s no excuse for their step-dad to treat them like terrorists.

Emigrating to the country is unpopular with the kids (“This is child abuse of the worst kind,” moans Lindsey) and supported by Suzanne who looks forward to a spacious kitchen and more than two bedrooms, especially since she’s pregnant with twins. The house they chose is enormous (“And we’ve got a blueberry tree!” squeals Nick), although there’s no point in asking the obvious: how can an untested magazine publisher possibly afford it?

The estate agent (realtor), electrician, builder, plumber, midwife and contractor is Chuck Mitchell (John C McGinley), who subcontracts to blind people and a large Fijian family. In the past, he was an Olympic speed walker, a Lakers basketball player and husband to a famous (deceased) country singer. Now, he lives in a mobile home with his hard hats and his memories.

The problems in the house are predictable – look at a wall, it falls down; touch a knob, it drops off; admire a chandelier, it shatters on the dining room table which disintegrates before your eyes. Laugh? You’ll beg for mercy. As for sentimentality, it’s like poison ivy spreading across every scene.

Since the ubiquitous Nick (catch phrase “I can fix that”) is neither funny, nor endearing, the jokes are left to Chuck, who suffers from a severe case of Carreyitis. McGinley (Dr Cox in Scrubs) appears surprisingly camp and no longer in control of his facial behavior. Perhaps his bravura performance only looks manic because, compared to the naturalistic non-acting of I Cube, he’s the only one foolin’ around.

Reviewed on: 06 Jun 2007
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Are We Done Yet? packshot
Townies buy country mansion, with disastrous results.
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Director: Steve Carr

Writer: Hank Nelken, based on the screenplay of Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank

Starring: Ice Cube, Nia Long, John C McGinley, Aleisha Allen, Philip Bolden, Tahj Mowry, Dan Joffre, Pedro Miguel Arce, Jacob Vargas, Jonathan Katz, Linda Kash

Year: 2007

Runtime: 92 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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