Going "There"

Well, I saw my first theatrical feature of 2005 last weekend. Someday I'm going to go a whole year without seeing anything. That'll learn 'em.

Anyway, the movie was "Are We There Yet?" and if I was a professor, and I gave grades, and this film was a term paper, I'd give it a C+. There wasn't anything really wrong with the film, but it was utterly and totally predictable. I mean, if you've never heard of the film and I described it as "Ice Cube, a batchelor who doesn't like children, has to drive some bratty kids a couple hundred miles," you could probably guess almost all the jokes. And if you saw it in the theater, you probably did what I did: something would happen, and I'd think, "I bet this will lead to [something else], and the joke is going to be [whatever]," and I was always right.

This would really fill my definition of "rote." In the film's favor, though, Ice Cube himself has a nice, easy charm, which kind of surprised me: I don't think I've ever seen him in a movie, but every picture of him I've seen shows him snarling (there's actually a plot point about that). He came across as pretty likable. And the actors playing the two kids were pretty good--I mean, these kids come across as utter monsters from the get-go; the fact that you can sympathize with their later disappointments is a nice tribute to the actors.

Props also have to go for having Deep Throat (as a pharmacist-clown) and Uhura, too.

Maybe kids would enjoy this a lot more than I did. Don't get me wrong, parts of it were fun and I didn't feel that I'd wasted my money or my time; there just wasn't much there in "There."

Oh, and Hollywood, here's your idea for the sequel: Now that the kids like Nick (Ice Cube), he and they have to travel with some kids who are even more obnoxious, and the kids no longer know how to deal with this. And everyone learns how to loosen up and act bad.

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