Who's in It:
Ice Cube, Nia Long, John C. McGinley
The Basics: After I saw Are We There Yet? I screamed in anguished, Ice-Cube-filled devotion as that movie's credits rolled. I remember sobbing, "It's over ALREADY?! That can't be the end! I have to know what happens next!" I'm just like you, reader. I feel pain when movies I love say goodbye. So it's with newfound reason-to-live that I happily (scoff) report: The sequel has arrived. In this one, Ice Cube builds his dream house for his new wife and her bratty kids. In the process, people get bonked on the head. (Translation of all that: It's a big bucket of stupid, and unless you're an eight-year-old, you'll want your money back.)
What's the Deal? It's been a long time since Mr. Cube billed himself as the "[N-word] you love to hate," or led Lollapalooza crowds in gleeful chants of "[F-bomb] you, Ice Cube!" I don't miss those days. Someone needed to replace Bill Cosby eventually as the surrogate father of us all. So I vote Ice Cube. It's not like Tim Allen's interested in the job anymore. And Ice Cube would look superamazing in those sweaters. Anyway, it's a thankless job being warm and dull and trite, but somebody's got to do it.
One Beef I Have
OK, Truthfully I Have Many, But Here's My No. 1: Are animators that hard up for work that one of them convinced the filmmakers to eschew an actual trained raccoon for one made of pixels and air? I realize that fake animals are usually way more entertaining than real ones (Apocalypto's black panther puppet comes to mind), but I get annoyed quickly when they're so fake they don't even exist. Add that one to the movie's weirdly insistent belief that people falling down is the most uproariously funny thing there ever was
and you get the picture.
Who Deserves Better: Long, for starters. Yes, a job is a job, but decent roles for African-American actresses that don't involve time-traveling back to a walk-on in Killer of Sheep are as rare as a unicorn sighting, and this one is no exception. Then there's McGinley, a character actor you may remember as the freaked-out, way-too-handsy gay cop in Wild Hogs. And this movie is actually a step up for him.
Points For: Having the nerve to give this movie the film-critic-and-audience-heckler-taunting title of Are We Done Yet?. They could have just stuck another long car trip in this movie and called it Are We There Yet-Yet, New, Former NWA-Member Stepdad?. Or just tacked a "2" on the end or something. But no. They dare you to make the obvious joke.