For anyone who misspent their youth in the grooves of his solo records or NWA's legendary debut, there's something truly unnerving about seeing Ice Cube on a big screen as a light entertainer. The man who rhymed his way through such tracks as 'Bop Gun', 'Dead Homiez' and 'I'm Only Out for One Thang' gooning his way through a family movie? What's next? The Olsens wrestling the hip-hop crown from 50 Cent and The Game? Barney getting 'Thug Life' tattooed on his purple belly? Reader's Digest merging with The Source? A follow-up to 'Are We Done Yet?'? The first three are more desirable, but less likely.
'Are We Done Yet?' is itself a sequel to 'Are We There Yet?' a film whose originality (confirmed bachelor gets stuck with two youngsters on road trip) was in inverse proportion to its box office clout. And by the looks of things 'Are We Done Yet?' - $53m and counting - will go the same way.
Here the put upon Nick Persons (Cube) is now married to Suzanne (Long) - the object of his affection from the first movie - and playing a role somewhere between big brother and dad to her two children (Allen and Bolden).
Sensing that the kids need country not city life, Nick risks his fledgling magazine business to buy the family their 'dream home' in the woods. But it happens to come with the biggest snag list in property history and a nightmare estate agent (McGinley) who is also the small town's handyman, safety officer, midwife and much, much more.
While Ice Cube's range is limited he can do better than a film where the gags are as rickety as his character's house - this mixture of 'The Money Pit' and 'Are We There Yet?' has nothing in the way of originality and fails to make the most of the talent at its disposal. Given the storyline, better slapstick humour wasn't a big ask.
What 'Are We Done Yet?' does have going for it is McGinley, an actor who steals the whole sorry show as the ever-grinning, ever-guff-spouting Chuck Mitchell Jr. While 'The Scrubs' star should think more of his comedic talents and demand better for himself, he does make this film just about bearable and is at the centre of the (very few) best moments.
10-year-olds might laugh. At least twice.