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Are We Done Yet? (2007)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 8/7/2007

All Ratings out of
Movie: 1/2
Audio: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 8/8/2007

OK, I have a confession. I tried to watch 2005's Are We There Yet?, but I only made it about 4 minutes into the movie. Maybe I should have given it more of a chance, but I got a bad vibe from it from the get-go. When I heard that there was going to be a sequel, I had no interest until I learned more. Being a fan of Scrubs, I was intrigued by the fact that John C. McGinley was in it. And it was a remake of a Cary Grant movie. How bad could it be? Well, as I watched Are We Done Yet?, I realized that I should have trusted my instincts, just as I had with the first film.

As Are We Done Yet? opens, we are re-introduced to Nick Persons (Ice Cube), a cool inner-city dude who has married Suzanne (Nia Long), the woman he wooed in Are We There Yet? They live in a small apartment with Suzanne's children, Lindsey (Aleisha Allen) and Kevin (Philip Daniel Bolden). Nick has sold his sports store and he's now focused on creating a sports magazine. When Suzanne announces that she's pregnant, Nick decides that the family needs to move to the country, where they can properly raise the family and he can concentrate on his work. They quickly find a classic house, and real estate agent Chuck Mitchell, Jr. (John C. McGinley) talks them into buying it. Nick is convinced that the family will be happy there, until he realizes that the house needs a lot of work. Nick becomes even more frustrated when he learns that Chuck is both the local inspector and the only license handyman in the area. As the house falls apart around him, Nick fights to keep the family together.

Are We Done Yet? is one of those movies which is chock full of surprises...that is, if you've never seen a movie before. Beyond the fact that this is a remake, which has been remade before in films such as The Money Pit, the movie is quite predictable and follows an incredibly linear path. It offers some minor quirks, such as the neighbors and their obsession with sturgeon and the fact that Nick gets into a fight with a fish, but other than that, 95% of Are We Done Yet? is business as usual.

So, that raises the question, why make this movie in the first place? Is it because of the cast? In my opinion, no. I can't say that I've ever seen Ice Cube in a role where he was impressive, but when he's playing a serious character, he's at least believable. But, as the warm and fuzzy Nick Persions, Cube comes across as stiff and awkward. His attempts at frustration as the house falls further and further into chaos never feel genuine. And as for John C. McGinley, well, his performance is simply scary. He's essentially playing his Dr. Cox character from Scrubs. But, whereas Dr. Cox can be very mean, McGinley has channeled his manic energy into character who is annoyingly positive and perky, and he comes off as someone who is one step away from snapping. (Actually, his behavior is eventually explained in the film, but that doesn't keep it from being disturbing.) The two actors who play the children have no charm and are simply annoying.

The film is labeled as family entertainment, but I wouldn't let my children watch it, despite the fact that they asked. The fact that they wouldn't appreciate most of the film as it deals with Nick's housing woes, the movie shows too many examples of children being disrespectful to adults. Nick is portrayed as a buffoon and the two children spend most of the movie laughing at him. I'm the furthest thing from a prude, but the last thing that I need is a movie which teaches kids that it's OK to treat parents in this way.

Putting things into real estate terms, Are We Done Yet? is a bad investment. The movie is unoriginal and provides little in the way of entertainment. Fans of Scrubs may want to tune in to see McGinley's wacky performance and there is one adorable scene involving a chipmunk, but otherwise, you've seen it all before. Inexplicably, Are We There Yet? was a box-office hit, which spawned this sequel, but that doesn't mean that we have to continue the cycle.

Are We Done Yet? builds its way onto DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image looks good, as the picture is sharp and clear, showing no grain or defects from the source material. The colors are very good, as the film was shot in a very natural fashion, and the reds, greens, and blues really stand out. While I didn't note any overt artifacting, I can say that some shots lacked great detail. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. As this is a family comedy, we don't get overwhelming surround and subwoofer effects here, but there is some nice surround sound during the scenes in which parts of the house collapse.

The Are We Done Yet? DVD offers a few extras. Actor Philip Daniel Bolden hosts "Kidding Around on Set: Making Are We Done Yet?" (7 minutes), where he tours the set and we get comments from the cast and crew. "Chuck Mitchell, Jr.: Jack of All Trades" (5 minutes) offers a profile of John C. McGinley and examines his character in the film. The other extras are a 3 minute BLOOPER REEL and "The Are We Done Yet? Film Quiz" which has trivia questions about the movie. Why?

Review Copyright 2007 by Mike Long