A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has quite a bit of crude humor and some strong language for a PG. There is a lot of comic cartoon-style violence, including hits in the crotch, played for comedy. Some viewers may be upset by brief shots of a dead deer. And some may be disturbed by the portrayal of absent fathers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In ARE WE THERE YET?, Nick (Ice Cube), is a playa who thinks his life is mighty fine until he catches a look at the luscious Suzanne (Nia Long), who works across the street from his Portland, Oregon sports memorabilia shop. He tries to resist when he finds out that she has two children, but when he rescues her on a rainy night after her car breaks down and she knows the stats on his favorite player, Satchel Paige, he's a goner. Even though he does not like children, he will do anything to get close to her. Suzanne needs someone to take her children to Vancouver on New Year's Eve, and after they get into trouble at the airport and miss the train, Nick has to drive them in his beloved and pristine new SUV. Predictably, everything goes wrong on the trip, from an encounter with a kick-boxing deer to projectile vomit.
Is it any good?
The longest, naggiest, car-sickiest travel with children cannot be any more tedious than this weak and dragged-out generic fluff that wastes the talents of four performers who should know better. There are about three good minutes of material in this film, all of which appear in the trailer. The funny parts aren't funny, and even worse are the parts that are supposed to be touching. Nick and the kids have to find some way to like each other, but this aspect of the movie is not just unimaginative and tedious; it is so insincere and condescending that it is affirmatively unpleasant.
It's a shame to see the beautiful and talented Nia Long, given so little to do. Ice Cube seems to enjoy his interaction with his young co-stars but never seems fully engaged. Even with the voice of Tracey Morgan, the talking Satchel Paige bobblehead is tiresome. The performer who comes across the best is Aleisha Allen (of School of Rock), who has a fresh and appealing presence.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Kevin and Lindsey tried to sabotage her dates and what made Nick begin to feel some sympathy and respect for the children. They may also want to talk about some of their own car trips and what kinds of things families can do to make sure that the trips are enjoyable for everyone.