Film review: “Are We There Yet?”

Grade: F

Somewhere between a talking bobble-head doll (voiced by Tracy Morgan) and a wrestling match between the main character and a deer, the audiences of “Are We There Yet?” will realize they have paid $9 to see one of the worst movies ever made.

The movie follows Nick Persons (Ice Cube), whose aversion to children is challenged when a friend dares him to date a sexy single mother named Suzanne (Nia Long). Although Persons is assured of his ability to change for this woman, her children disagree. Since they believe only their father is worthy of their mother, they subvert all attempts for their mother’s affection. Thus Persons is caught in the “friends zone” until the children’s father cancels their New Year’s Eve plans. Given Suzanne’s previous engagements with work, Persons is the only adult available to care for her children. And through a series of unlikely mishaps, they end up on a road trip.

Keeping with the predictability of the genre, a series of obstacles have significant impact on Persons’ opinion of children. Despite his love for his new car, when Suzanne’s children vomit and spill in it, scratch the paint and pop all of the tires, he only adores them more. So much so that at the conclusion of the film, Persons appears to have more regard for Suzanne’s children than for their mother. In the awkward embrace of the new family that ends the film, the lack of chemistry between Long and Cube is clear.

Even the cute kids whose appearance is normally the one redeeming factor in such films are annoying. The boy completely lacks personality and the girl, apparently cast for her ability to sing Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” (poorly), appears to be reading her lines.

Thus the audience is not distracted enough by the acting to overlook the absurdity of a narrative which flounders between the melodramatic and the ridiculous and fails to entertain both the children in the audience and the parents they drug to see it.

–Josh Nichol-Caddy