Making the Grades
Most of our family road trips involve a 900-mile drive to visit the grandparents. But none of them (and there have been some bad ones) even come close to the journey Nick Persons (Ice Cube) makes.
He first notices Suzanne Kingston (Nia Long) on the street across from his sports memorabilia store. As she struggles to put her coat on in a wind gust, he initially appears to be interested only in her ample cleavage and low cut dress. Nevertheless, despite his past reputation with women, he approaches this new relationship on a friendship first basis, driving her to work and helping out with errands.
When Suzanne's former husband leaves her in the lurch on New Year's Eve, the interested shop owner steps in to take care of her kids, Lindsey (Aleisha Allen) and Kevin (Philip Bolden). He even offers to accompany them from Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, British Columbia so they can spend the weekend with their mom who is there on a work assignment.
However his pint-sized passengers are convinced their parents will get back together if they can just keep their mother from getting involved with another man. As a result, they use tactics worthy of assault charges to scare off any prospective beaus. Before the three travelers have even left town, the two kids have managed to ding the door of Nick's brand new SUV, kick him in the groin and dupe him into giving them money.
The confessed bachelor admits he doesn't have any patience for children. And after the first 20 minutes of incessant bickering and continual cheekiness, many audience members won't have much either.
Still, Nick persists amid the nonstop mishaps--though it's hard to understand why. Watching his Lincoln Navigator get ravaged at the hands of the terrible twosome and battered by an angry trucker is enough to push any grown man over the edge. Worst of all, he gets little more than a frosty welcome from the single mom when he finally arrives with her brood at the winter carnival.
Parents will find relatively few content concerns beyond a handful of profanities, a couple of sexual comments and some slapstick violence. Yet, along with their dawdling and disrespectful attitudes, the kids engage in some questionable behavior. For instance, they signal a passing truck driver, making him believe they've been kidnapped. While the situation is set up for comedic purposes, it's one that doesn't fly in this era of hypersensitivity to child abductions.
Much like the Home Alone series, younger viewers will likely be drawn to this consequence-free kid adventure. However after watching these painfully juvenile antics go on for 95 minutes, most adults will feel like they've been buckled into the front seat of a torture chamber. For me personally, I just wanted them to open the doors and let me out.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Are We There Yet?.
What qualities does Nick have that bode well for him as a potential parent? What characteristics does he need to develop?
The film contains some exaggerated situations that bear no resemblance to reality. How does that affect your ability to relate to these characters? Which individual do you connect with in this script?
Keeping the family happy on a long road trip can be tricky. Here are some favorite sites offering games and other handy travel tips to help make the journey fun: http://familyfun.go.com/family-travel/places/feature/doca0303travelprintable/