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Are We There Yet?

Mr. O'Shea Jackson, this is your life. Your career began in rap music, with the infamous group N.W.A under the moniker Ice Cube. In 1989, you and your group released Straight Outta Compton and quickly became one of the most famous rap artists in the business. But in 1991, the acting bug bit, and the role of Dough Boy in Boyz N the Hood showed a viable career as an actor. Other roles followed, but the keystone was 1994's Friday, which the gangsta rapper wrote (your first screenplay), and played an innocent mailman who loses his job and gets stoned for the first time. Partnered with Chris Tucker, the film was a huge success, and it's held a long shelf-life as a cult classic. After that success, you flexed your auteur muscles by writing and directing The Player's Club, an intimate look at the life of a strip club, and shortly thereafter finished the Friday trilogy. Though you were famous for such songs as "F- the Police" and "Givin' Up the Nappy Dugout," the success of 2002's PG-13 Barbershop opened more family-friendly doors, leading to 2005's Are We There Yet?. The film made $82 million upon release — a sizable number for a January title — and will perhaps lead to more kid-centric projects. You, Cube, star as Nick Persons, a confirmed bachelor who sells sports memorabilia in Portland, Ore. Nick meets the woman of his dreams in Suzanne Kingston (Nia Long), but her children Lindsey (Aleisha Allen) and Kevin (Phillip Bolden) are convinced their mother will get back together with her ex-husband. Of course, Nick isn't a fan of kids in general, but when Suzanne has to go to Vancouver, B.C., he says he'll chaperone them on a flight. The children don't like him, so they sabotage the trip every step of the way, forcing them to drive there in Nick's new car (which suffers all manner of abuse). Along the way, both sides fight with each other, but after the children find out their father has remarried (in a scene that must have been inspired by a similar one in Takeshi Kitano's Kikujiro), everyone begins to see how maybe they're better off together. Directed by Brian Levant (Snow Dogs), Are We There Yet? is a graceless mess, but it's easy to see how it connected with audiences — it faithfully follows its plot, hitting the emotional beats it has to. Unfortunately, everything is played loud and stupid. How you, Cube, must feel about having gone from being "Amerikkka's Most Wanted" to the new Mr. Rogers is anyone's guess. Columbia TriStar presents Are We There Yet? in a good anamorphic transfer (1.78:1) and DD 5.1 audio. Extras include a commentary by director Brian Levant, bloopers (8 min.), "Road Trippin': The Making of Are We There Yet?" (21 min.), "A Tour of Nick's Fine Sports Collectibles" (5 min.), a deleted scene (1 min.), three storyboard comparisons (8 min.), and previews. Keep-case.

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