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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Are We There Yet? (review)

The year has barely begun, and already we have the film to beat for the title of 2005’s Movie That Makes You Want To Move To Another Planet To Avoid Any Association With Its Creators. Oh, it’s not just a hideous swamp artificial sentimental claptrap, it’s an unescapable morass of ethnic and gender stereotypes, crotch injuries, and inappropriately aggressive herbivores: It’s heartwarming and it’s asinine! Ice Cube (Barbershop 2: Back in Business) joins the Cuba Gooding Snow Dogs Club For Actors Who Killed Their Own Careers as Nick, the most misanthropic thirtysomething bachelor you’ve ever met — kids are “like cockroaches except you can’t squish them,” he says… and then you meet the two horrible little monsters who belong to the woman he’s currently chasing (Nia Long: Alfie), for whom squishing would be too lenient. Mom is a shameless manipulator who commandeers Nick and his new SUV as a chauffeur for herself and the little snots, and he lets himself be willingly led around by the certain appendage he’s hoping Mom will start paying some attention to. Certainly, these are people to revile, though those who conceived of this disaster are thoroughly hate-able too. (Director Brian Levant? Snow Dogs.) The joke about America’s new propensity for torturing prisoners of war is a new low, but a brief one. Worse is when the movie wallows in the drawn-out symbolic castration of Nick — the kids demolish his brand-new 6000-pound-penis-extender Lincoln Navigator on a long road trip — as a prerequisite to his learning how to be a family man. It’s enough to drain all the joy from seeing a militantly macho piece of machinery like an SUV get destroyed.


MPAA: rated PG for language and rude humor

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

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