Reviews

Are We Done Yet?

By Garth Franklin

On paper I realised that this sequel to 2005's woeful "Are We There Yet" sounded familiar - it's "The Money Pit." More specifically both that 1986 Tom Hanks comedy and this 2007 Ice Cube comedy are both remakes of the 1948 Cary Grant flick "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House".

The difference here is intent. Seems the 'Cube' started out with a remake in mind and ended up refashioning it into a sequel to 'There' - probably because of brand name recognition as the first one went well box-office wise. What's shocking here is that the first one, god awful as it was, is still a stronger film than this odious sequel.

There's an animated opening title sequence which is actually pretty good, but it's all downhill from there. The four principals from the first one (Cube, Nia Long and the two kids) are back and the setup is that with another baby on the way, the gang move to a large 'fixer upper' in rural Portland to begin their new life.

Along the way there's assorted problems - lots of critters (bats, owls, a pesky racoon), much of the house falling to pieces as someone steps on it, and John C. McGinley (who at least seems to be trying) serving as numerous foils throughout - right up until the unconvincing reversal where they try to make us sympathise with him over his dead wife.

Cube has proven himself a decent performer in the past, but here he just phones it in throughout. Same goes for much of the cast, short of the ubiquitous youngsters (notably the daughter character) who do pretty decently for child characters in this kind of material.

The problem is that this material is so flat and unfunny that it requires the performers to go that extra mile to make it work - they seem reticent to do so, and the result is many cartoon-like accidents in a variety of disjointed segments. There's no attempt at even a plot, short of the all too predictable ending where it all turns out fine. Tedious, recycled crap.

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