ARE WE DONE YET?
US, 2007, 92 minutes, Colour.
Ice Cube, Nia Long, John C. Mc Ginley, Aleisha Allen, Philip Bolden.
Directed by Steve Carr.
This film is something of a relief after the torment of Are We There Yet? That was the film where Ice Cube, a sports store owner, clashed with two of the most obnoxious children ever to invade the screen (especially the girl) and had to drive them to meet their mother, Nia Long, with whom he fell in love, thus acquiring a wife and the two children. This road trip was one of the most excruciating on film as the children tricked, abused, upset Ice Cube.
Very popular in the US for its intended audience, the sequel has not drawn good reviews elsewhere. This film is an adaptation of the 1947 comedy, Mr Blandings Builds his Dream House with Cary Grant and Myna Loy – which was, in turn, adapted in 1986 as The Money Pit with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long.
This time round Ice Cube, with Nia Long pregnant with twins, plus the two horrors (actually this time the boy is not so bad, but she…!!!). They move to the country, are persuaded to buy a good looking house which, of course, has everything wrong with it. Slapstick and pratfalls, anger and humour are the order of the day as the house first falls to pieces and then is put back together again.
Ice Cube is now a long way from the ‘hood and his rapper days, settling into comfortable middle class mayhem.
There is one thing, depending on your sense of humour, which helps this film along. It is the performance of John C. Mc Ginley as the real estate agent, all smiles and smarm. Then he turns up, with different hats, as the person responsible for everything else in the town, a different persona for each. He does it all with exuberance and versatility.
But, this is a comedy for its target audience – others probably should beware.
1.The popularity of Are We There Yet? The opening for a sequel? The target audience of African Americans? For a wider audience or not?
2.The city settings, the transfer to the countryside, the dream house, the town? The musical score? Songs? The title – and the reference to the house? The remake of Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House? Adapted and updated?
3.The focus of the family in the city? Nick and Suzanne married? Lindsey and Kevin? Still playing up? Suzanne pregnant? Expecting twins? Nick and his selling his sports firm? Starting the magazine? The contact with Michael Jordan? Discussions with the agents and editors? His trying to work at home, continually interrupted? The decision to buy a house?
4.Chuck Mitchell Jr and his role as an estate agent? The smarmy style? Everything positive? Showing Nick and Suzanne over the house? Smoothing over parts that fell off? The next couple having a look, Nick and the quick making of the decision?
5.The move, the children complaining, losing their friends? The house itself, settling in, the children having a room each? The house and its being satisfying? Things beginning to go wrong? Electricity, the parts falling off, falling through floors, cupboards …?
6.The irony that Chuck was the repair organiser? The plumber? In charge of law and order? His different hats, changing personality? The comedy of the writing so that he could move from one responsibility to the other in a detached way?
7.The rebuilding of the house? The contractors? Nick getting upset? The growing expenses? Interacting with Chuck? The other builders? The final exasperation?
8.Suzanne and the children moving away? Nick alone? The final destruction of the house?
9.His change of heart, talking with Chuck? Chuck and his going into the caravan? Nick discovering the truth about Chuck’s marriage? Their reconciliation, making friends? Chuck bringing everybody back? The community effort?
10.The glimpse of the neighbours, everybody coming with sturgeon meals to welcome the family? Their coming to the celebration? The happy ending – and a future?
11.The birth of the twins – and Chuck and his being a midwife, a long-distance walker champion – and his helping in the delivery, consolidating his presence in their lives?