Are We Done Yet? movie review: Steve Carr’s remake of classic Cary Grant-Myrna Loy comedy is like a film in search of a story
Directed by Steve Carr, whose Rebound and Daddy Day Care failed to score with critics, Are We Done Yet? feels like a movie without a script. It offers no laughs and no surprises, and for most of its 90 minutes it plays like an exact copy of its deplorable predecessor, Are We There Yet?.
(Very) young filmgoers may occasionally appreciate the film’s humdrum silliness, but adults are likely to keep checking their watch while wondering, Is this movie over yet?
Escape from the big city
The Are We Done Yet? plot picks up from Are We There Yet?, shortly after Nick Persons (Ice Cube) successfully delivers on his promise to taxi the mischievous kids of his girlfriend, Suzanne (Nia Long), from Oregon to Vancouver. The couple are now married, but their life is far from perfect.
They all live in a cramped downtown flat, Nick has trouble selling his concept for a sports magazine, and Suzanne announces that she’s pregnant with twins. In an attempt to escape the stress of the big city, the Persons decide to move to the countryside, where they are tricked into buying a real fixer-upper.
Lacking the budget to let the pros handle the building, Nick decides to do the renovation himself. Needless to say, that will lead only to chaos and family turmoil.
Dismantling Mr. Blandings
Are We Done Yet? is based on H.C. Potter’s popular 1948 light comedy Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, and Melvyn Douglas, and written by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, from Eric Hodgins’ 1946 book.
Unfortunately, Hank Nelken’s screenplay for the reboot gives director Carr one too many opportunities to shove down our throats scenes of ridiculous slapstick and banal dialogue. In fact, watching Are We Done Yet? feels like experiencing déjà vu.
All the filmmakers accomplish is the mindlessly recycling of material from recent comedies – think Cheaper by the Dozen 2 crossed with Doctor Dolittle. Inventiveness and creativity are to be avoided at all costs.
Thus, we get to watch Ice Cube face a number of yawn-inducing obstacles while attempting to fix a house and build a family. A fight with a raccoon is only one of them.
What could possibly go wrong? The answer is…
Films with hopeless plots sometimes rely on solid acting to counterbalance things, but Are We Done Yet? avoided that route, too.
Ice Cube tries to play it cool, but delivers his lines without either heart or soul – even when getting all fired up about a luxurious private toilet. The same applies to Aleisha Allen and Philip Bolden, who reprise their roles as Nia Long’s annoying brats. The movie’s only positive asset is John C. McGinley, best known for his hilarious performance as Dr. Perry Cox on the television series Scrubs.
In Are We Done Yet?, McGinley’s multiple roles as real estate agent, contractor, and midwife provide him with the chance to bring the comedy to life in a handful of moments. But in every other respect, Are We Done Yet? is a complete failure from start to finish.
The movie’s tagline reads: “New Home. New Family. What could possibly go wrong?”
Truth be told, in this picture, just about everything.
Are We Done Yet? (2007)
Director: Steve Carr.
Screenplay: Hank Nelken.
From Melvin Frank & Norman Panama’s screenplay for the 1948 movie Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, itself based on Eric Hodgins’ 1946 novel.
Characters (from the 2005 feature Are We There Yet?) by Steven Gary Banks & Claudia Grazioso.
Cast: Ice Cube. Nia Long. John C. McGinley. Aleisha Allen. Philip Bolden. Jonathan Katz. Linda Kash. Hayes MacArthur.
Cameo: Magic Johnson.
“Are We Done Yet? Movie: Disastrous Ice Cube Remake” review text © Franck Tabouring; excerpt, image captions, bullet point introduction, and notes/endnotes © Alt Film Guide.
“Are We Done Yet? Movie (2007) Review” endnotes
Ice Cube Are We Done Yet? movie image: Sony Pictures.
“Are We Done Yet? Movie: Disastrous Ice Cube Remake” last updated in September 2021.