"24 hours. 350 miles. His girlfriend’s kids. What could possibly go wrong?" With Ice Cube in charge of two precocious brats, the answer is that everything could go wrong – but nothing more so than the unbelievable plot.
Even children who had A.D.D. (myself included) will agree that some of the kids’ more disgusting behavior – driving a car around a gas station, pretending to be kidnapped, getting on a moving train – is not "silly," but instead just unbelievably stupid. And maybe it’s just me, but I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t find kids with attitude funny, I find them incredibly annoying and in need of strict, Dr. Phil-on-steroids parenting.
When children are mean to the adult to the point of un-likeability, it’s not enough that it keeps the kids in the audience guffawing. Kids laugh at anything. By the time Cube gets into a kickboxing match with a clearly animatronic deer while the bratty kids take pictures, I wanted to kickbox them myself. Then Cube’s brand new Escalade is set on fire and explodes. But, oh, no problem, it’s just a material possession.
It’s just not realistic. When that other genius Hughes (John) did kids, they acted like kids and inhabited a realistic world that parents could relate to. "Oh no, we left Macaulay at home!" from Hughes’s Home Alone is a simultaneous fear of every parent and fantasy of every child. In other words, it appeals to everyone. Are We There Yet? just appeals to kids – and that’s a big just.
Are We There Yet? is currently in theaters.