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:: Are We There Yet?

‘Is It Over Yet?’ might have been a more appropriate title for this shocker from the director of Jingle All The Way and The Flintstones movies. The title role was rejected by Adam Sandler for good reason and it’s a great pity Ice Cube didn’t do the same.

He plays Nick, a player from the ‘hood, who’s budding romance with divorc√© Suzanne (Nia Long) is threatened by her two evil children. Lindsay (Aleisha Allen) and Kevin (Phillip Bolden) scare away their mother’s suitors, believing she will eventually patch things up with their Dad. When Suzanne’s work takes her to the other side of the country for the holidays, Nick offers to take the kids on a road trip to see her, and the nightmare begins.

Like a movie-length episode of Funniest Home Videos, it doesn’t take long to realise that Nick is about to get hit in the groin, literally and metaphorically. There are a few laughs for kids in the form of Home Alone-style slapstick and toilet humour, but there’s not much to appeal to the already frazzled parents sitting beside them.

The kids overact through most of the film and the grown-ups aren’t much better. Nia Long at least avoids looking ridiculous, but Ice Cube’s credibility is annihilated. The gags just aren’t funny and Lindsay and Kevin, little horrors with heaps of attitude, can’t be a good influence on young children.

In some ways, the story tries to sympathise with kids who are dealing with their parents’ separation. It doesn’t offer them false hopes of reconciliation and tries to show that badly behaved kids aren’t necessarily ‘bad’ kids. The attempt at substance fails. Lindsay and Kevin really are hideous children, in serious need of discipline, and the story is so busy trying to make us like Ice Cube, that it leaves the kids thinking their father doesn’t love them.

Don’t even rent this film when it goes to DVD.