Are We Done Yet? might be the most aptly named film of the spring. Shortly after the family-friendly comedy starring rapper Ice Cube begins, so does the long wait for the end. The movie (rated PG for some innuendos and brief language) serves as a sequel to the forgettable Are We There Yet?, a 2005 comedy in which Ice Cube's character, Nick Persons, manages his girlfriend's obnoxious children on a long road trip full of slapstick mishaps.
This time around, Nick is married to the girlfriend and managing his new, high-maintenance family in his cramped Portland, Ore., apartment. When he moves the family to a sprawling house in the Oregon countryside, he finds out his new home is a nightmare instead of the charming fixer-upper his goofy real estate agent (John McGinley) promised. Slapstick mishaps ensue.
This premise has succeeded in the past with movies like Chevy Chase's Funny Farm and Cary Grant's 1948 Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (which this film is very loosely based on). But those movies worked because of decent scripts and humor that hinged on characters.
In this film, the humor hinges on ever-escalating accidents that would kill a normal person: Nick falls through the roof, battles a smirking raccoon before falling through the roof again, and predictably electrocutes himself while fixing the dining room lights. The character is likable, but mainly written to absorb wacky misfortune.
That's not to say kids won't find the movie funny, or that it doesn't have positive elements. Nick sincerely wants to be a good father to his two stepchildren, who are less than grateful. He admirably guards his teenage stepdaughter's modesty and tries to bond with his young stepson. Of course, these heartwarming moments last a nanosecond and are immediately swallowed up by another house- or nature-related calamity.
Nick's refreshing qualities leave me wishing that a strong, caring father would show up in a well-written comedy that doesn't leave many moviegoers longing for the end.