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Reviews
Are We Done Yet?
 
Rating: PG
Run Time: 92 min
Genre: Comedy
Language: English
  Synopsis:
Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Nia Long) decide to move to the suburbs to create a better life for children Lindsey (Aleisha Allen) and Kevin (Philip Bolden) . The contractor (John C. McGinley) they hire to renovate their home has a rather odd way of doing business, complicating the family's move. Matters spiral further out of control when the contractor clashes with Nick but bonds with Suzanne and the children.
 
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Poster Art A scene from the film "Are We Done Yet?" A scene from the film "Are We Done Yet?" A scene from the film "Are We Done Yet?" A scene from the film "Are We Done Yet?"
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Cast: Ice Cube, - Nia Long, - John C. McGinley, - Ice Cube, Nick - Nia Long, Suzanne - Aleisha Allen, Lindsey - Philip Bolden, Kevin - Dan Joffre, Billy Pulu - Tahj Mowry, Danny Pulu - Pedro Miguel Arce, Georgie Pulu - Alexander Kalugin, Russian Contractor - Tara Mercurio, Ellie - Jonathan Katz, Mr. Rooney - John C. McGinley, Chuck Mitchell Jr.

Reviews:

Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
FILM REVIEW: ARE WE DONE YET?
By Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune Movie Critic
1-1/2 stars
Calling a sequel "Are We Done Yet?" is like calling it "Enough Already." The film in question follows up on "Are We There Yet?" (2005), in which a couple of vicious yet heartwarming "Home Alone"-inspired preteens made Ice Cube's courtship of Nia Long a living heck before the happy ending.
This time Cube's character, Nick Persons, is fully in family comedy dad mode, having married Long and begun a new sports-themed magazine. Long's children are again played by young Philip Daniel Bolden and Aleisha Allen. Though the sequel never explains why they don't simply move into Nick's $60,000 Cadillac Escalade, the apartment they share (plus Long has twins on the way) cannot contain the hordes. So it's off to the Oregon countryside they go, to renovate a capacious fixer-upper.
The blueprints are provided by the 1948 Cary Grant/Myrna Loy comedy "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House." No classic, "Mr. Blandings" nonetheless had a machine-tooled efficiency, and it didn't strain to please. "Are We Done Yet?" strains. This sort-of "Blandings" remake is somewhat easier to take than "Are We There Yet?" But it's less of a pain only because the grim, artless physical comedy is less plentiful. Also it involves smaller critters: Instead of getting beaten up by a deer, Ice Cube's attacked by a raccoon.
The whole of it feels written and directed by the Escalade's GPS. Steve Carr is the credited director; Hank Nelken is the credited writer, and together they grind through one "Money Pit" bit after another. John C. McGinley is over-exploited as the family's manic jack-of-all-trades contractor, who in this corner of Oregon (or Canada, substituting for Oregon; filming is cheaper there; their government believes in subsidies) serves also as the local real-estate agent and "part-time midwife." He nets some laughs, but as "Wild Hogs" recently proved, neither McGinley's vulpine grin nor his eccentric timing are material-proof.
"Are We Done Yet?"
Directed by Steve Carr; screenplay by Hank Nelken, based on the RKO film "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House"; photographed by Jack Green; edited by Craig P. Herring; music by Teddy Castellucci; production design by Nina Ruscio; produced by Ted Hartley, Ice Cube, Matt Alvarez and Todd Garner. A Revolution Studios release. Running time: 1:32. MPAA rating: PG (some innuendoes and brief language).
Nick Persons - Ice Cube
Suzanne Persons - Nia Long
Chuck Mitchell Jr. - John C. McGinley


 
Production Notes:

- Notes provided by Sony Pictures Entertainment. -

Production Information
Are We Done Yet? is a follow-up to Revolution Studios' hilarious 2005 family comedy Are We There Yet? and picks up where the last story left off. Now married to Suzanne (Nia Long), Nick Persons (Ice Cube) has bought a quiet suburban house to escape the rat race of the big city and to provide more space for his new wife and kids Lindsey and Kevin (Aleisha Allen and Philip Daniel Bolden). But when his new home quickly becomes a costly "fixer upper" and he finds himself at the mercy of an eccentric contractor (John C. McGinley), Nick's suburban dream soon becomes a riotous nightmare. More importantly, as much effort as the house will require, the Persons are going to find that it will take even more work to make the house a home.
Revolution Studios presents an RKO Pictures/Cube Vision production, Are We Done Yet? The film stars Ice Cube, Nia Long, John C. McGinley, Aleisha Allen, and Philip Daniel Bolden. The director is Steve Carr. The producers are Ted Hartley, Ice Cube, Matt Alvarez, and Todd Garner. Screen Story and Screenplay by Hank Nelken, based on characters created by Steven Gary Banks & Claudia Grazioso, based upon the Motion Picture "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House," screenplay by Norman Panama & Melvin Frank, from the RKO Pictures Library. Executive producers are Heidi Santelli, Aaron Ray, Steve Carr, Derek Dauchy, and Neil Machlis. Director of Photography is Jack Green, ASC. Production Designer is Nina Ruscio. The editor is Craig P. Herring. Music is by Teddy Castellucci. The music supervisor is Spring Aspers. These credits are not final and subject to change.
Are We Done Yet? is rated PG by the MPAA for Some Innuendoes and Brief Language. The film will be released nationwide on April 4, 2007.


ABOUT THE STORY
Nick Persons' (Ice Cube) style is a little cramped these days, along with his rented condo. With new wife, Suzanne (Nia Long), her two growing children, eight-year-old Kevin (Philip Daniel Bolden) and 13-year-old Lindsey (Aleisha Allen), and the family dog, Coco, taking up every last inch of what used to be Nick's bachelor pad, finding space to think and write up the cover story for the first edition of his new venture, Sports Page magazine, is proving an exercise in futility. Still, Nick is trying his best-to write and to adapt.
The situation goes from cramped to critical when Suzanne announces she's pregnant -- with twins! There's no option left but to move. As Nick quickly -- too quickly? -- falls in love with a magnificent home in need of some TLC, the charismatic local realtor, Chuck Mitchell, Jr. (John C. McGinley), sells them on the house's finer attributes... and before she knows it, Suzanne is giving in to Nick's ridiculous vision of fixing up the house himself and creating the perfect environment for their expanding family.
When Nick nearly electrocutes himself on his first do-it-yourself project -- after a chandelier falls from the ceiling! -- Nick gives in, calls the contractor, and...Chuck shows up? It appears that, in addition to being the local realtor, Chuck is also the resident contractor. Nick is furious... and then, when the babies start kicking and only Chuck can calm them down, it's more than Nick can bear.
His pride hurt, Nick becomes even more determined not to hire Chuck and instead hires a local cowboy builder. The choice proves first dangerous and then expensive as the local inspector -- you guessed it, Chuck again -- arrives to shut down the illegal wiring. A thousand-dollar fine later, Nick is forced to accept defeat.
Now Chuck can get right to work. Yet even with Chuck on the job -- or perhaps because he's on the job -- things quickly go from bad to worse. The problems mount -- dry rot, corroded plumbing, animal infestation! -- and soon, Chuck has moved into an airstream trailer in the Persons' yard. As Chuck continually says, "It's gonna get ugly before it gets pretty."
As the interior of the house is rapidly torn apart, tensions increase and Nick finds his relationships deteriorating at the same rapid pace -- and wherever Nick fails, his nemesis succeeds. Chuck bonds with Kevin, who abandons his emulation of Nick to mimic Chuck's dress and mannerisms. Chuck even manages to connect with Lindsey, encouraging her to pursue a relationship with Danny, the cute 15year-old dry rot specialist she has developed a crush on. Things come to a head when Nick discovers Lindsey has sneaked out to a luau at Danny's house; Nick crashes the party and, despite Chuck's attempts to get Nick to lighten up on the teen, marches a humiliated Lindsey home.
Worst of all, even Suzanne has fallen under Chuck's spell: she starts natural childbirth classes with Chuck as her partner. Already annoyed, Nick is sent over the edge when Chuck cheerfully announces the house needs a new roof. Nick goes ballistic, wreaking vengeance with a piece of mahogany trim as Chuck ducks and darts to avoid Nick's wrath. Chuck survives the attempt on his life but his job is gone. It proves a costly move to Nick: he is quickly abandoned by the other tradespeople, their loyalty firmly with Chuck.
Suzanne -- angered by Nick's temper tantrum -- decides that the best thing to do is to give her husband some distance. She and the kids move out, but not far, taking up residence in their lakeside cottage.
At first, Nick's wounded pride prevents him from giving in, then it motivates him to prove everyone wrong. It's up to Nick to repair not only his home, but also his relationships with his family and with Chuck as he begins his new life as a husband and father.


ABOUT THE FILM
In 2005, audiences were introduced to Nick Persons, a smooth operator trying to land a date with a young, attractive divorcee by bringing her two kids to Vancouver from Portland, in Revolution Studios' family comedy Are We There Yet?. In that film, a simple drive became more than Nick bargained for as he ended up liking the kids as much as their mother. In 2007, Nick's taking the next step. In Revolution Studios' Are We Done Yet?, Nick, now married to Suzanne, has bought a home for his rapidly growing family... and once again, the effort moves Nick past the point of frustration to complete meltdown.
Ice Cube reprises his role as Nick. "I think people will identify with this family," says the star. "It's like real life -- everybody's trying to get comfortable with each other. Even though we've dialed up the comedy, we also try to pull it back into reality, make it a little more slice-of-life -- exactly what everyone is going through in some way."
Cube's producing partner, Matt Alvarez, notes that the idea of fixing a broken house serves as a fitting backdrop for the Persons as they try to make a home together. "They might have all moved to a new community, but the real fish out of water story is Nick trying to adapt to living with his new family," he says.
"In the first movie, we dealt with being a divorced person and finding a mate to integrate into your family," recalls producer Todd Garner. "Here, the family is integrated but there are still some bumps and bruises. Now, the question is, `How do you blend a family?' Nick was a single guy who is now faced with becoming a father not only to two step-kids but twin babies of his own. Kevin is growing up and looking for a role model. Aleisha's a teenager in a blended family, faced with the idea of having new siblings, and now forced to move, to leave her friends behind and find her way in a new neighborhood. She's also starting on a whole new phase of her life where she's beginning to have feelings for a boy. Suzanne, too, is starting a new family after having had a family already. With all these changes in your lives, how do grow as a unit?
"We thought this was a perfect metaphor for the process of building a new family," Garner continues. "When people move into a new home and things go wrong, it really puts relationships to the test, so it was also a perfect foundation for comedic conflict. This film -- about a family that has problems and faces obstacles and doesn't necessarily get along all the time -- makes not only for great comedy but real, heartfelt emotion. You can identify with these characters because they're not a cardboard cutout, picture-perfect family."
For Steve Carr, director of Are We Done Yet?, the film represents the chance to bring a lively, 21st century spin to one of Hollywood's classic genres. "This movie has the feel of a traditional, screwball comedy of the 30s and 40s," he says, noting that one of the prime sources for the film's screenplay is the Cary Grant classic "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House." "That was really appealing to me and, I think, it will be equally appealing to audiences. They'll laugh a lot, but there's also a lot of warmth and a lot of heart in it."
Another way the filmmakers brought new energy to the story was the addition of a new character: Chuck Mitchell, Jr., the Persons' neighbor/realtor/ inspector/contractor/"baby whisperer" who seems to have all the answers to the family problems Nick faces -- the man who succeeds wherever Nick fails. "As far as my character, Suzanne, is concerned," says Nia Long, who returns to the role, "Chuck is the greatest neighbor and the greatest guy to know. She sees him hanging out with the kids, taking them fishing. He knows about natural childbirth and yoga, he studied with monks, he played professional basketball -- he's a Renaissance man."
To play the role, the filmmakers turned to John C. McGinley, best-known for his role as the acerbic, quick-witted Dr. Cox on the NBC series "Scrubs." "Chuck -- with John playing him -- is a real comedic foil for Cube to bounce off of," says Alvarez. "In the first film Nick was the straight man in this wacky world, responding to everything that was happening to him. This time, John gives him someone to play off other than the kids."
"Chuck is huge, funny, over the top; Nick is very deadpan -- very, very solid," says Carr. "When you put those two guys together it makes for a great buddy dynamic. To a certain extent, not only is Are We Done Yet? a sequel about the Persons family, but it's also a buddy film."
Are We Done Yet? began its journey to the screen when producer Ted Hartley of RKO Pictures was struck with the idea of an update to the classic film "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House." According to Alvarez, when the project found its way to Revolution Studios and Cube Vision Productions, the filmmakers immediately saw the potential in the bones of the story -- provided that it serve as the story of the Persons family's next adventure. "Reworking it as a sequel for Are We There Yet? gave it a modern feel," says Alvarez. "We were able to make it fresh but also do things that we wouldn't have been able to do had we made it as a remake."
Garner says the production would not have been possible without significant input from producer Ice Cube. "Cube is an incredible talent, an unbelievable producer," says Garner. "He's able to cross over effortlessly between music and film and television. As a producer, he really knows the inside out of how to make a movie and how to structure it so it fits his style of acting. What's unbelievable about him is that not only is he a great producer and actor, but he's a fearless comedian."
According to Hartley, Are We Done Yet? is a perfect match between star and material. "It's his humanity," enthuses Hartley about the film's star, Ice Cube. "Cube brings an accessibility that other people -- even funny people -- maybe wouldn't. I think the idea of a new person coming into the family is very modern and very interesting, and would not have happened in the Cary Grant era. This is very hip and up-to-date and yet still has the universal appeal of a classic romantic comedy."
Steve Carr takes the helm of the film, re-teaming with Ice Cube for the first time since making his directorial debut on Cube's hit comedy Next Friday. Since then, Carr has overseen such blockbuster comedies as Dr. Dolittle 2 and Daddy Day Care. "There aren't many directors who can handle real emotion and also have the great patience required when working with animals and kids," Garner points out. "Steve proved he can do both, but what I love most about Steve is that his ear for comedy is really fantastic. He works tirelessly to make sure that he gets the quality that he demands."
"I always knew Steve had the potential, the energy, and the vision to be a great director -- that's why we gave him his first shot on Next Friday," says Cube. "I thought it would be cool to work together again now that he has some big movies under his belt. In the end, this was one of the easiest, most laid-back projects that I've worked on, because I knew Steve was there. Steve never has attitude; he's always ready to go, he's always cool."
"Honestly, I owe Ice Cube a huge debt of gratitude," says Carr. "Being able to make the jump to films from music videos is a very tough leap and you need somebody who believes in you. Ice Cube and Matt Alvarez did that for me. I'm forever grateful."
Producer Todd Garner says that Carr's forte as a director of screen comedy is knowing how far to push his cast. "Any great comedic director really trusts his actors to explore their characters and try to make things funnier," he says. "Steve's incredibly good at letting his actors add to their roles, then determine what's good and gently steer them toward what he knows he needs for the movie that's in his head. He's completely gracious. When something's working, he'll be the guy laughing the hardest."


ABOUT THE CHARACTERS
At the center of Are We Done Yet?, once again, is Ice Cube. For the star, the comedy presents a chance to take the next step with Nick Persons, the character he first brought to life. "Nick's gone from being a bachelor -- living life how he wanted -- to being a family man," says Cube. "What I like about Nick is he doesn't go from being cool to corny; he keeps his personality and tries to fit it in with family life."
"As the Persons become a family -- and the family gets larger -- Nick's small, cramped condo doesn't cut it," says Cube. It's time to move to a bigger spot, and that's where all his problems come. "He's trying his best to be the head of the household, to blend these two families together as they move to a new neighborhood. To go from a single man to a family of four -- and soon to be six -- is a huge adjustment."
However, at times, Nick feels the best he can do pales in comparison to the best his neighbor Chuck (played by John C. McGinley) can do. While the rest of the family falls under Chuck's spell, Nick sees him as a jerk-of-all-trades. "Nick's not perfect, but he's a cool guy," says Cube. "Chuck is way out there. The fact that Chuck always seems to have all the answers gets to Nick a little bit. What Nick has to learn is that his best will always be enough. Nick is the only one who can make this house into a home for his family."
"Cube is very particular about the types of films he does and the characters he plays," says Alvarez. "He's a very grounded guy, and that comes across on screen. His characters have to be that way, too -- they have to have an everyman vibe."
Alvarez also notes that Cube has exceptional comic timing when working with his four-legged co-stars. "Some of the funniest scenes in the movie are Cube's interactions with the animals," says Alvarez. "He really shows he can be a great physical comedian."
Returning to her role as Suzanne is Nia Long. Are We Done Yet? gave the actress a chance to show how much her character has changed. "In the last film," says Long, "Suzanne was troubled. She was going through divorce, her ex-husband was playing games; she was much more panicked. In this one you see a resolved woman, a pregnant, married, stay-at-home mom comfortable with her new life. You see a lighter part of her personality. She's much more optimistic about things."
Of course, sometimes being a resolved, grounded woman is letting one's husband have his way. "Sometimes wives just need to let men be men, because they have a different process for doing things," laughs Long. "Sometimes you get more of what you want when you just go, `Okay, honey.'"
"It was important to us to feature Suzanne as a strong woman -- someone with a point of view who was ready to get in there and mix it up when she needed to," says Alvarez. "That's Nia."
"Nia always brings her A game," says Ice Cube. "I like working with her because she always adds something to the character. We've been working together since my first movie; she's one of those actresses that can play anything."
Ice Cube offers similarly high praise for Aleisha Allen and Philip Daniel Bolden. "Even though in the movie Lindsey and Kevin are acting out, Aleisha and Philip are two of the most professional kids I've ever worked with," he says. "I knew they would be prepared, they would be eager to go, that we would get no complaints and we'd have fun. So it was cool to get everybody back together and do it in the summer this time."
"Trying to join these families together -- it's chaos," says Allen, who reprises her role as Lindsey. "Obviously, now that Nick and Suzanne are married, Nick is trying to adjust to having Suzanne's kids around. But not only that -- they're also having babies together... and twins!"
Allen relished the chance to show how much she -- and her character -- have grown by portraying her first onscreen romance. "It's puppy love," she says. "It's really cute. I enjoyed it -- it's a different role than I've ever played before, so it was fun."
In contrast to Allen, Kevin is "the same old, same old Kevin, feuding with Lindsey," says Bolden. In fact, Bolden relished that about his character: "I start picking and picking and picking until she gets annoyed -- it's what you'd expect from someone like me."
For the role that Cube calls the film's "X-factor," the filmmakers cast John C. McGinley of "Scrubs" fame to play the obnoxious Chuck. "John is one of the best actors I've worked with -- he just engulfs the character," raves Ice Cube. "We had him doing everything from being a yoga instructor to doing a fire dance, and he was able to do it all. He brought such energy to the part and brought Chuck to life."
As McGinley portrays Chuck's relationship with the family, the film's core theme is developed further. "The first note I wrote in the margin of the script," recalls McGinley, "was `Fill the void.' It seemed clear right away that Chuck was compensating for something, and I was fascinated to play somebody like this and then, almost like a detective, figure out what he's compensating for."
McGinley says he was "encouraged to bring as much John C. McGinley to Chuck Mitchell, Jr. as possible. I took that as a license to expand and explore."


ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
In Are We Done Yet?, the setting of the film underscores the movie's larger theme -- as they rebuild their house, the Persons are also rebuilding their home. As the filmmakers geared up for production, they quickly realized that with such an important setting, getting the house right was vital. "The house is truly a character on its own," says producer Matt Alvarez. "It's one of the things we responded to in the material when we first read the screenplay. Anybody who's ever owned a house has been through a renovation experience where things have gone wrong. The setting had to be universal."
The first order of business for the production team was to find the perfect location for the Persons' nightmare home. "In the beginning, there was a struggle conceptually about whether or not we wanted the house to be isolated in the countryside with no visible neighbors," says production designer Nina Ruscio. "In the end, we wanted something where you felt as if it were large-scale suburbia, but not isolated countryside. It didn't make sense for the characters to move to farmland."
After a lengthy search, location manager Bruce Brownstein led the team to Deer Lake Park in Burnaby, just outside Vancouver. "As soon as we came to this particular site, everyone was ecstatic," recalls Brownstein. "It had the proximity to other houses, but they were not too close. Also, it had a large meadow in which to build. Once upon a time, this was a house site that the city of Burnaby purchased, and the old house was torn down, so it had a natural feel to it. It also had oak trees in the background that would frame the house beautifully."
With the perfect location secured, Ruscio began designing the house itself. "Are We Done Yet? is based in part upon the film `Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House,' which takes place in a Cape Cod-style house, a style which is very regional, very East Coast," explains Ruscio. "Our movie takes place in the Pacific Northwest. We wanted to pay respect to `Mr. Blandings' by mimicking its architectural style, but also keep to a style that is indigenous to the northwest coast. That's how we ended up with the shingle-style house; it's a crossbreed between late Victorian and early arts-and-crafts. It works."
The design of the film's lakeside cottage, adds Ruscio, anchors the home in the invented history she was creating. "It's a beautiful old stone foundation home that you're supposed to feel was here on the property before the house was built," she says. "My idea was that the cottage was a homesteaders' spot, and then the house was built in the late 1800s. I like it, because it looks like a history that you would want to buy into as a home buyer."
That Ruscio was successful at creating reality was attested to when the public requested both the pond and cottage be allowed to remain after filming, with the cottage used perhaps to house a coffee shop. Alas, says Brownstein, it cannot be. "The pond is a liability issue. And as for the cottage, what the public doesn't realize is that, while it looks like a beautiful stone cottage that's been here for 150 years, it is, in fact, foam."
"That's true," laughs Ruscio, "One hundred percent authentic foam. It's a mold that we poured from actual stones, and repeated as well in the foundation of the house. So when you knock on the cottage walls, it's just beautiful painted foam. What a marvelous job the scenics and sculptors did for us on this!
"There are a lot of details within the house that are sculpted foam as well," adds Ruscio. "There's a swirling vortex detail that I've used as a motif throughout the house; you'll see it in the wood panels, in stained glass windows, and such. It represents the chaos that the family gets sucked into. It's my inside joke."
Perhaps the greatest challenge the production design team faced was to decide how they would shoot each stage of the house's demolition and re-construction. "On the face of it, it's a movie that takes place in a house," says Ruscio, "so it should be pretty straightforward in terms of the design and the construction. But the fact of the matter is it all takes place in a house -- how do you create multiple versions of one house for a movie? Do you create them at separate locations or do you try to create them all within one house? That's what we ultimately decided to do here -- to create all the different stages of the house with one set that metamorphoses into five different sets over the course of the shooting schedule."
In order to make that work, the house was completely built and the last scene was shot first. Then, the house was quickly battered, weathered, and aged, and the remainder of the film more or less shot in sequence, with the house deconstructed and rebuilt by the production crew in step with the onscreen action.
Of course, the house wasn't just a house -- it was also a movie set. "The entire second floor had to function like a sound stage, so all the coffered ceilings had removable panels, above which was a grid system that was used for lighting the house," says Ruscio. "It had to have moveable walls. It had to be fully engineered for action on the roof. There were special effects gags built into the design: there's a part where Nick falls through the roof, and another where electrical sparks fly. We had to have period timbers inside the walls so that when we strip back the walls to expose the original structure, you're seeing what would be authentic framing from the time period. In the end, it was a cross between a house and a stage; it was a complex and unique set for that reason and a marvelous challenge, crossing the line between a permanent structure and a movie set."
Director of photography Jack Green, ASC helped focus the attention on the comedy with some simple lens choices. In Nick's crowded condo, Green used tighter lenses and massive foreground pieces so that one always has the feeling of being cramped. "I also used a filtration that emphasizes black to get the contrast a little bit darker," adds Green. "Then, when the Person family finds this new house, we used wider lenses to mimic their feelings as they progress from a small, cramped apartment into a massive house four, five times the size."
The lake scenes were filmed at Rice Lake in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, a lake that exists within a watershed. "It's actually below dam and below intake for fresh drinking water for Vancouver," says Brownstein, "but they treat it as though it's a watershed area. We weren't allowed to use any motorized boats in the lake, and anything we put in the lake had to be clean. There are access trails from a park across the river, too, so we had to make certain we looked after the public's interests, that they weren't inconvenienced too greatly. But the Reserve is very pro-filming and, in fact, we left our dock behind as a viewing platform because it was a good place for people to stand and look over the lake."
One location proved especially inspirational: the former Europe Hotel (1908-09), now a conversion in Vancouver's historic Gastown, a flatiron building that tapers to a point where two streets meet in a V-shaped intersection. "In the previous movie they didn't establish where Nick lives," says Ruscio, "which was great for me because when I was scouting for an exterior for Nick's apartment I saw this flatiron style building with a squished triangle shape. It was comical to me. You get the impression immediately that that space is just too small to live in. It's barely eight feet across from side to side. Finding that exterior was the birth of the idea that Nick's apartment was so small that it was absurd trying to squeeze a dog, a boy, a young woman, a father and a mother carrying twins into this tiny, tiny space."
The condo turned out to be too small for filming, so only the exterior was used (for shots of the family moving out), but Ruscio based her designs on the interior and built a set. "We layered it and layered it with the stuff from Nick's bachelor life, and then added Suzanne's possessions that she tried to squeeze into the space. The kids share a bedroom but it's the tiniest bedroom, almost the size of a closet, separated by a curtain. Anyone who's lived in an apartment in New York or tried to make a closet their bedroom as a child in a family with multiple siblings will relate to this."
One thing that proved truly inspirational for everyone was the never-ending sunshine during Vancouver's driest summer on record. "We had an unbelievable experience in Vancouver," says an enthusiastic Todd Garner. "Every day was more beautiful than the next. Since a lot of this movie takes place outside, we got incredibly lucky."
Ruscio adds that the weather also allowed the movie "to maximize the gorgeous view of the meadow and the lake we built this beautiful house on."
Garner adds that, in addition to perfect weather, "we had an unbelievable crew; everyone took great care to ensure that the house schedule remained in sync with the shooting schedule."
At the end of the day, the filmmakers felt they had struck upon a universal and very funny theme any homeowner could relate to. "I have built two houses," says Garner, "and every experience I thought was unique to me and thought I was so clever for putting in the script is actually not so rare. Every person I've asked who has gone through this has said, `I have that story and more.' So we brought to this film not only our own experiences but all the other hilarious stories we heard and tried to include here. And along the way, as we've been shooting, we've seen a lot of people nodding, saying `I know exactly how they feel.'"
"Any homeowner soon realizes that a house is a lifelong project," concludes Ice Cube. "It's more than just a place to live -- it's the place you raise your family. It's not just a house, it's a home. It's never finished."


ABOUT THE CAST
As head of the production company Cube Vision, ICE CUBE (Nick Persons/Producer) has written, produced, and starred in the cult hit Friday and its successful sequels, Next Friday, and Friday After Next. Cube Vision was also responsible for The Players Club, in which Cube made his directorial debut. He also starred in and executive produced the back-to-back box office hits Barbershop and Barbershop 2: Back in Business. In Are We Done Yet?, Cube again stars as Nick Persons, a role he created in Revolution Studios' sleeper-hit family comedy Are We There Yet?, which he also produced through Cube Vision.
Other film credits include the critically acclaimed Three Kings opposite George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg; Trespass; and Higher Learning. Cube made his feature film debut in John Singleton's classic Boyz N the Hood.
Cube continues to be one of the most recognized hip-hop artists in the recording industry. His thriving music career includes the double-platinum success of Volumes 1 and 2 of his double album, "War and Peace." As a solo artist, Cube has recorded such hit albums as "Lethal Injection," "Bootlegs & B-Sides," "The Predator," and "Amerikkka's Most Wanted." His collaborative effort with Mack-10 and WC formed the group Westside Connection whose second album, "Terrorist Threats," was released in December 2003 and marks the follow-up effort to their 1996 double-platinum seller, "Bow Down." A collection of his greatest hits, featuring two new songs, was released by Priority Records in December 2001.
NIA LONG (Suzanne Persons) has built a reputation as an actress of exceptional range, delivering outstanding work in box office hits, independent features, and television. Long recently starred in Big Momma's House 2 with Martin Lawrence, Charles Shyer's remake of Alfie opposite Jude Law, and in Mario Van Peebles' critically acclaimed documentary Baadasssss!
Long also starred in 20th Century Fox's box office hit Big Momma's House. Her role in this film garnered her a 2001 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture and a 2001 Blockbuster Award nomination for Favorite Actress.
Long's other film credits include Boiler Room, Best Man, The Broken Hearts Club, In Too Deep, Held Up, Stigmata, Soul Food, Made in America, Friday, Boyz N the Hood, and Love Jones, which won the prestigious Audience Award at Sundance.
In television, Long starred on NBC's critically acclaimed drama "Third Watch" as Sasha Monroe, a tough cop dedicated to improving her community. For her work, Long received a 2004 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. She recently completed a dramatic arc on the highly rated television series "Boston Legal."
Long's other television credits include "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Judging Amy," "If These Walls Could Talk 2," "Everwood," and "ER."
While an understudy in New York in the Circle-In-The-Square production of John Patrick Shanley's "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea," JOHN C. McGINLEY (Chuck Mitchell, Jr.) was spotted by director Oliver Stone. Soon after, he was cast in Platoon, the first of a long list of collaborations between Stone and McGinley which includes Wall Street, Talk Radio, Born on the Fourth of July, Nixon, and Any Given Sunday.
McGinley has also appeared in such features as Identity, The Animal, The Rock, Nothing to Lose, Set It Off, Seven, Office Space, Mother, Wagons East, Surviving the Game, On Deadly Ground, Point Break, Highlander II, A Midnight Clear, and Fat Man and Little Boy. He can currently be seen in the smash hit Wild Hogs with John Travolta, Ray Liotta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy.
Despite his success with studio releases, McGinley remains solidly committed to the independent film community, starring in such independent features as director D.B. Sweeney's Dirt Nap, for which he won the Festival Director's Award at Method Fest; director Eriq La Salle's Crazy As Hell; and director Scott Silver's Johns. McGinley also worked on Truth or Consequences, N.M., Kiefer Sutherland's feature directorial debut, and on Colin Fitz, a film McGinley coproduced which premiered in competition at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.
McGinley has received raves and is a multi-award nominee for his performance in NBC's two-time Emmy-nominated medical comedy series "Scrubs," now in its sixth season. He also received stunning reviews for his starring role in Koontz's gripping suspense drama "Intensity," a four-hour original film for FOX. McGinley's other television work includes the John Badham western "The Jack Bull" for HBO Pictures, which McGinley executive-produced and starred opposite John Cusack, and HBO's "The Pentagon Wars."
McGinley is a partner at McGinley Entertainment Inc., an independent film production company with several projects currently in development. The company produced the romantic comedy Watch It! starring Peter Gallagher and Lili Taylor.
In addition to film and TV, McGinley often works in theater. He was featured on Broadway in "Requiem for a Heavyweight" and off-Broadway at the renowned Joseph Papp Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival in "The Ballad of Soapy Smith" and Eric Bogosian's original stage production of "Talk Radio."
ALEISHA ALLEN (Lindsey Persons), who was born and raised in New York City has been modeling for print and television ads since the age of four. As a six-year-old, she appeared on the popular Disney TV show "Out of the Box" and later became a series regular on Nickelodeon Network's "Blue's Clues."
A singer, ballerina, and theater major as well as an actress, Allen starred in the hit comedy School of Rock with Jack Black before joining Ice Cube in Are We There Yet?. Allen has also appeared in the feature films The Best Man and Finding Forrester.
In addition, Allen is an Honor Roll student and is active in raising awareness at her school of the plight in Darfur. Her hobbies include dancing, shopping, hula hooping, eating, sleeping, listening to music, and getting pampered.
After 2005's hit comedy Are We There Yet?, PHILIP DANIEL BOLDEN (Kevin Persons) appeared as Bradley in How to Eat Fried Worms. He also recently voiced a role in the animated feature Fly Me to the Moon with Christopher Lloyd, Robert Patrick, and Kelly Ripa. Prior to these films, Bolden shared the screen in Johnson Family Vacation with Steve Harvey and Vanessa L. Williams. Other film appearances include The Animal and Little Nicky.
On television, Bolden has guest-starred on "According to Jim," "CSI: Miami," and "Malcolm in the Middle," and has had recurring roles on both "My Wife and Kids" and "The King of Queens." Bolden also appeared in the telefilm "Play'd: A Hip Hop Story."
Bolden, who was born in New Orleans, also had roles in a McDonald's commercial with Kobe Bryant and in Macy Gray's music video "Sweet Baby."


ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
STEVE CARR (Director/Executive Producer) began his career in the music industry with his own graphic design firm, The Drawing Board Graphic Design Company. Over the next decade DBGD created the most influential and recognizable album art in hip-hop for Def Jam Records and such artists as Public Enemy, LL Cool J, The Beastie Boys, Mary J. Blige, Puffy, and Notorious B.I.G., among others.
After starting Drawing Board Pictures with partner Heidi Santelli, Carr directed music videos for such artists as Moby, Method Man, Public Enemy, Slick Rick, Timberland, and Redman. Carr won MTV's Music Video Award for Best Rap Video on Jay-Z's "Can I Get A." Carr was recently nominated for three additional MTV awards for his videos featuring Nelly and Ludacris.
Carr's video direction led to his first feature film assignment, Next Friday, starring Ice Cube. Dr. Dolittle 2 and Daddy Day Care, both starring Eddie Murphy, quickly followed. Carr then directed Rebound, starring Martin Lawrence, before reconnecting with Ice Cube for Are We Done Yet? Carr's upcoming projects include directing Racing the Monsoon and Iron Fist, and producing Mama's Boy.
HANK NELKEN (Screen Story and Screenplay by) interest in filmmaking started at an early age; by sixth grade, he was shooting and editing his own productions. While at University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, he directed many short films, including Let's Do Love, an award-winning social satire, and Fifteen Minutes, which premiered at the USC First Look Festival in 1996 to rave reviews.
From 1998 to 2001, Nelken partnered with Greg DePaul and wrote a television pilot for Fox, rewrote two feature-length scripts, and sold four original screenplays, including the cult classic Saving Silverman starring Jack Black, Amanda Peet, and Jason Biggs.
Nelken next wrote the upcoming feature Mama's Boy, starring Jon Heder, Diane Keaton, Jeff Daniels, Anna Faris, and Eli Wallach. He is currently working on Something Borrowed, a high-concept romantic comedy he wrote, which will mark his feature directorial debut, and All My Life for Sale, a script he wrote for Warner Bros.
TED HARTLEY (Producer), as RKO's CEO, is responsible for leading RKO's development and production activities in movies, television and for the expansion of the RKO brand to the stage and other entertainment and distribution venues. In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Hartley produced the 1998 RKO classic Mighty Joe Young with Disney, Ritual with Miramax, Magnificent Ambersons Shade, and Laura Smiles.
Hartley produced the Broadway musicals "Never Gonna Dance," an adaptation of the RKO classic "Swingtime" (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers), "Curtains," scored by Kander & Ebbs, and is in development with partners on a musical version of "Zhivago" for 2008.
Prior to his graduate studies at Harvard Business School and Georgetown University, Hartley graduated from Annapolis. During his Navy career he was a carrier-based jet fighter pilot (F9F8s, F11Fs) with shore tours as an aide at the White House, and in military legislative liaison with the U.S. Senate. A carrier accident with substantial injuries sent him to the disability retiree list and to civilian life. He worked on Wall Street for two years as a deal maker for Gulf and Western (later Paramount Pictures Corp.) and through a strange circumstance ended up in Hollywood as an actor.
Hartley had a long-running stint as Reverend Jerry Bedford in the television series "Peyton Place," and later as the lead in ABC's "Chopper One," as well as a succession of movie roles opposite such stars as Cary Grant, Robert Redford, and Clint Eastwood.
By 1991 he had merged Pavilion Communications, a private entertainment finance group, with RKO Pictures Corporation. Hartley recapitalized the company, brought in a new management team which has led to the reemergence of RKO Pictures, LLC as an important independent studio.
Hartley is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and of the Screen Actors Guild, The Producers Guild, The League of Theater Owners and Producers, Harvard Business School Association, and various industry organizations. His board assignments include the Steadman-Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation, The Story Project, and the Foundation for International Screen Artists, which he founded.
MATT ALVAREZ (Producer) has been partnered at Cube Vision with actor/producer/writer Ice Cube since 1998. The company produced the highly successful Barbershop franchise (Barbershop, Barbershop 2) and Beauty Shop for MGM and the Friday franchise (Friday, Next Friday, Friday After Next) and All About The Benjamins for New Line. The company has also ventured into television with the series "Black.White." for FX. Their latest project is the recently announced feature version of "Welcome Back, Kotter."
Cube Vision signed a three-picture production deal with Revolution Studios in 2003, where they are currently developing the features Willie, Clash, and Neighborhood Watch. Other projects they are developing include Defense, Going on Tilt, and The Courtship of Eddie's Father.
Television projects currently in development are an untitled Cohn/Miller one-hour drama for Fox, an animated series for MTV based on the popular Friday franchise, and a series based on the Barbershop franchise for Showtime. Additionally, they are developing a half-hour drama for HBO about a young hip-hop artist and the music industry entitled "Be Careful What You Wish For."
In addition to his producing responsibilities and overseeing day-to-day operations of Cube Vision, Alvarez is responsible for nurturing new writers and directors, acquiring and developing new music projects, as well as overseeing the company's expansion into other areas of entertainment.
Alvarez got his start as acquisitions and co-productions manager at Fine Line Features, where he oversaw the production of such films as Mother Night starring Nick Nolte, and Roseanna's Grave. Born in Fresno, California and raised in Foster City, Alvarez graduated from the University of California, Davis, where he earned a B.A. in English and Art History.
TODD GARNER (Producer) is a veteran Hollywood creative executive with a gift for creating and nurturing mainstream, commercial motion pictures. In various capacities throughout his career, Garner has developed, overseen, executive-produced, or produced well over 100 movies, many of them major hits for their respective studios. Known for his strong relationships with top actors, directors, and writers, Garner has numerous projects in various stages of post-production, production, pre-production, and development through Broken Road Productions, the company he founded in summer 2005.
Garner began his career at Paramount Pictures in finance then as a freelance editor with credits on several commercials and music videos. Garner then left Paramount in 1990 to begin a lengthy relationship with the Walt Disney Company, where he first served as a creative executive at Touchstone Pictures and was subsequently promoted to director of production, vice-president of production (1995-96), and senior vice-president of production (1996-98). He was then promoted to executive vice-president (1998-99) of the Buena Vista Motion Picture Group, which owns Touchstone Pictures, then finally co-president. Among the highly successful films he oversaw while at Buena Vista were Pearl Harbor, Remember the Titans, Gone in 60 Seconds, Con Air, Coyote Ugly, and The Waterboy.
In May 2000, Garner left Disney to join Revolution Studios as a partner. He was responsible for overseeing all aspects of development and production for the company's motion pictures during its remarkable first five years. Garner oversaw such hit Revolution films as Black Hawk Down, Hellboy, and Daddy Day Care, and developed and served as executive producer on such films as xXx, xXx 2: State of the Union, Anger Management, Radio, 13 Going on 30, The Forgotten, The Fog, Little Man, Zoom, Are We There Yet?, and the sci-fi thriller Next.
HEIDI SANTELLI (Executive Producer) began her career as a production assistant in feature films after graduating with a BFA from California Institute of the Arts.
After moving to New York, she met graphic artist Steve Carr. Sharing an interest in film and a love of hip-hop music, Santelli produced the music videos Carr directed for Def Jam Records. Santelli later took a job as Video Commissioner with Def Jam, supervising the production of videos by such directors as Hype Williams and Brett Ratner, and for such artists as Public Enemy, Method Man, Redman, LL Cool J, and Jay-Z.
A job as executive producer of the music video division of Edward Zwick's commercial production company, Bedford Falls, brought Santelli back to Los Angeles. When she accepted an offer to start a music video division for Lawrence Bender's production company A Band Apart, she convinced Carr to join her there. At A Band Apart, Santelli produced the MTV award-winning videos that Carr directed for rapper Jay-Z and the Moby hit "Bodyrock."
When Carr started his second movie, Santelli joined him and worked as coproducer of Dr. Dolittle 2 and then executive producer of Daddy Day Care and Rebound.
In partnership with Carr, Santelli is producing the upcoming feature comedy Mama's Boy starring Jon Heder, Diane Keaton, Jeff Daniels, and Anna Faris. Together they are developing Racing the Monsoon with Michael Douglas' Furthur Films and Gateway to the Gods with Nickelodeon. She is also producing Quick Shots of False Hope with Laura Kightlinger, based on Kightlinger's autobiographical book of essays Quick Shots of False Hope: A Rejection Collection.
AARON RAY (Executive Producer) is a partner at the Beverly Hills based management / production company The Collective. The company handles writers, directors, actors, musical artists, and productions needs.
Ray is also actively involved in the financing, distribution, and sales of projects at the Collective, in all phases of development and production.
Ray served as co- producer on the hit Big Momma's House and Black Knight. He also served as executive producer on The Drake and Josh Movie and the upcoming feature The Ministers, starring John Leguizamo and Harvey Keitel.
Ray has been named one of the "Dealmakers of the Town" by The Los Angeles Business Journal, one of the "35 under 35" Next Generation leaders by The Hollywood Reporter and one of "The Hundred People You Need to Know in Hollywood" by Fade In magazine.
DEREK DAUCHY (Executive Producer), part of the creative team at Revolution Studios, has helped develop and oversee feature films including The Benchwarmers, XXX franchise, Anger Management, Daddy Day Care, Radio, The Animal, and Darkness Falls (which he also executive produced). He recently oversaw and executive produced The Fog, XXX: State of the Union, Are We There Yet?, Man of the House, and the upcoming feature Across The Universe. Dauchy previously spent three years working for Barry Levinson and Paula Weinstein at their Baltimore/Spring Creek Pictures, where he helped develop such blockbusters as The Perfect Storm and Analyze This.
NEIL MACHLIS (Executive Producer) has enjoyed a film career spanning more than 30 years, during which he has emerged as one of the entertainment industry's busiest and most highly respected producers, working with some of the top directors of his generation including Mike Nichols, Bob Fosse, Ron Howard, and Joel Schumacher. Machlis' list of producing credits is equally impressive including such films as Zoom (as executive producer), Garfield, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, The Ring Two, The Birdcage, Dr. Dolittle 2, Primary Colors, Honeymoon in Vegas, Bedazzled, What Planet Are You From?, I.Q., Lenny, and Postcards From the Edge.
Born and raised in Belle Harbor, New York, Machlis earned a B.A. degree from American University and began his film career at Astra Films in Washington. During the social unrest of the late `60s, Machlis found himself at the 1968 Democratic National Convention filming commentary for the U.S. Senate.
The following year, Machlis moved back to New York and entered the Directors Guild of America's training program as one of only 10 trainees accepted from more than 1,500 applicants. Under the guidance of the program, he began his formal training in filmmaking. He went on to associate produce the hit films Grease, American Gigolo, Johnny Dangerously, and Cujo, then co-produced The Monster Squad before making the leap to executive producing with Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
JACK GREEN, ASC (Director of Photography) started out, as most directors of photography do, as a camera assistant (on Win, Place or Steal), then worked his way up to operator (Fighting Mad) before landing the coveted spot behind the camera as director of photography (Heartbreak Ridge). After working on back-toback films for director Buddy Van Horn, The Dead Pool and Pink Cadillac, both starring Clint Eastwood, Green forged a lengthy collaboration with the star turned director. Green and Eastwood shot nine films together including The Rookie, Unforgiven, The Bridges of Madison County, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and True Crime.
Green's many other feature credits include two films for director Jan de Bont, Twister and Speed 2: Cruise Control; Girl, Interrupted, starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie; 50 First Dates, starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore; Against the Ropes, starring Meg Ryan; The 40 Year Old Virgin, starring Steve Carell; Serenity; and Click, starring Adam Sandler.
NINA RUSCIO (Production Designer) most recently designed the comedy hits Fat Albert, Cheaper by the Dozen, Just Married, and Big Fat Liar. She has also designed the feature films The Annihilation of Fish, Breakfast of Champions, and Cool as Ice. For television, her work includes "If These Walls Could Talk II," "Toothless," "State of Emergency," "Blindside," "Intimate Stranger," "When Billie Beat Bobby," and the series "Nash Bridges." As an art director, her feature work includes Spy Game, Enemy of the State, Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael, and A Rage in Harlem.
CRAIG P. HERRING (Editor) has previously edited such films as Scary Movie 4, Rebound, Sleepover, Good Boy!, The Tuxedo, Dr. Dolittle 2, Bedazzled, Analyze This, Multiplicity, and Groundhog Day.
Herring began his career as an assistant to legendary producer/director Stanley Kramer before making his move to the editing room, where he worked on numerous films with his father, three-time Oscar® nominee Pembroke Herring. Together they worked on Sydney Pollack's Out of Africa, Ivan Reitman's Legal Eagles, Amy Heckerling's European Vacation, and Colin Higgins' 9 to 5. Through his career, Herring has worked on over thirty feature films and has collaborated with nine other Academy Award®-winning or -nominated film editors.
JORI WOODMAN (Costume Designer) most recently designed costumes for director Keenan Ivory Wayans' Little Man, Frank Marshall's adventure Eight Below, and for the Wayans Brothers on their hit comedy White Chicks.
Woodman has worked on numerous other feature films including Final Destination, Final Destination 2, The Guilty, Lake Placid, Bliss, and Mystery Date. She co-designed the costumes for the Emmy-nominated miniseries "Titanic," starring Catherine Zeta Jones, as well as John Woo's thriller, Paycheck. Woodman's television credits include many movies of the week, pilots, and miniseries.
TEDDY CASTELLUCCI (Composer) scored the motion pictures Wild Hogs, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Little Man, Just My Luck, The Longest Yard, Rebound, White Chicks, 50 First Dates, My Boss's Daughter, Anger Management, Mr. Deeds, Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights, Big Daddy, The Animal, The Guest, Good Advice, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, Repli-Kate, Little Nicky, and The Wedding Singer.
As a studio musician, his long list of recording and performing credits include such diverse artists as Michael Jackson, Jackson Browne, Boz Scaggs, Smokey Robinson, Olivia Newton-John, Michael Bolton, Natalie Cole, Brian Wilson, Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Lionel Hampton.
As Vice President of Soundtracks & Supervision at Island Def Jam Records, SPRING ASPERS (Music Supervisor), works with several film studios in creating film soundtracks.
Her extensive credits include An American Crime; Stick It; Something New; Alpha Dog; Yours, Mine and Ours; Are We There Yet?; Taxi; Garfield; The Whole Ten Yards; Daddy Day Care; The Fighting Temptations; Friday After Next; All About the Benjamins; Dr. Dolittle 2; Tomcats; Big Momma's House; Next Friday; The Whole Nine Yards; Detroit Rock City; and Nights at the Golden Eagle.
Aspers is currently working on the soundtrack for the upcoming film Lars and the Real Girl.
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