Are We There Yet?

So innocuous and retro-minded it could have easily found a place on ABC's "TGIF" lineup circa 1994.

With:
With: Terry Crews, Essence Atkins, Teala Dunn, Coy Stewart, Keesha Sharp, Christian Finnegan, Ice Cube.

So innocuous and retro-minded it could have easily found a place on ABC’s “TGIF” lineup circa 1994, multicamera sitcom “Are We There Yet” reps a disappointing retreat into blandness for showrunner Ali LeRoi and star Terry Crews, who last collaborated on the far superior “Everybody Hates Chris.” Nominally based on the Ice Cube-starring kiddie pic while featuring an entirely new cast, this feather-light show ought to mollify undiscriminating youngsters, though it’s always a shame to see talented stars mailing it in.

Taking off where 2007’s “Money Pit”-aping sequel “Are We Done Yet” left off, in the show Nick (Crews) is a former athlete newly married to Suzanne (Essence Atkins), a single mom whose teenage kids (Teala Dunn and Coy Stewart) show him mild hostility.

Though highly formulaic, the episodes rarely seem to follow the traditional A-plot/B-plot format, instead giving every character his or her own subplot to add to the mix. Nods to contempo life are integrated into age-old sitcom tropes: Parental snooping is now accomplished via Facebook, and a mother-daughter argument over a sweater is somehow tied to Michelle Obama.

Some of the situations stretch the limits of credibility, notably a baffling subplot in which Nick objects to Suzanne coming to bed looking too casual, despite the fact she’s wearing nightclub-heavy makeup.

Scripting also is hampered by some ungainly construction; gags that should be throwaway one-liners are laboriously pondered over, and the canned laugh track seems to kick in at inappropriate places. The occasionally stilted dialogue doesn’t make it easy for the cast, which otherwise performs passably.

Still, the series’ overall sweetness makes up for a number of its failings, and Keesha Sharp (“Girlfriends”), in a recurring role as Suzanne’s best friend, is often quite funny.

And for old-school rap fans, the sight of exec producer Ice Cube (guest-starring as Nick’s threatening brother-in-law) professing his love for Will Smith in a Doughboy-style snarl provides some clever meta-humor.

Are We There Yet?

TBS, Wed., June 2, 9 p.m.

Production: A Debmar-Mercury, Cube Vision and Revolution Studios production for TBS. Executive producers, Joe Roth, Ice Cube, Matt Alvarez, Vince Totino, Ali LeRoi; producers, Jason Shuman, William Sherak, Michele Armour; writer-director, LeRoi;

Crew: camera, Bill Berner; production designer, Norval Johnson; editor, Gary Levy; music, Stanley A. Smith; casting, Todd Thaler. 30 MIN.

Cast: With: Terry Crews, Essence Atkins, Teala Dunn, Coy Stewart, Keesha Sharp, Christian Finnegan, Ice Cube.

More TV

  • 'Shannara Chronciles' Canceled After Two Seasons

    'Shannara Chronicles' Canceled After Two Seasons

    So innocuous and retro-minded it could have easily found a place on ABC’s “TGIF” lineup circa 1994, multicamera sitcom “Are We There Yet” reps a disappointing retreat into blandness for showrunner Ali LeRoi and star Terry Crews, who last collaborated on the far superior “Everybody Hates Chris.” Nominally based on the Ice Cube-starring kiddie pic […]

  • Ignacio SerricchioBET 'Zoe Ever After' Panel

    Telemundo International Studios Unveils First Drama Series at NATPE

    So innocuous and retro-minded it could have easily found a place on ABC’s “TGIF” lineup circa 1994, multicamera sitcom “Are We There Yet” reps a disappointing retreat into blandness for showrunner Ali LeRoi and star Terry Crews, who last collaborated on the far superior “Everybody Hates Chris.” Nominally based on the Ice Cube-starring kiddie pic […]

  • Black Lightning -- "LaWanda: The Book

    TV Review: 'Black Lightning' on the CW

    So innocuous and retro-minded it could have easily found a place on ABC’s “TGIF” lineup circa 1994, multicamera sitcom “Are We There Yet” reps a disappointing retreat into blandness for showrunner Ali LeRoi and star Terry Crews, who last collaborated on the far superior “Everybody Hates Chris.” Nominally based on the Ice Cube-starring kiddie pic […]

  • EVERYTHING SUCKS!

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases Premiere Date, Trailer For '90s Comedy 'Everything Sucks!'

    So innocuous and retro-minded it could have easily found a place on ABC’s “TGIF” lineup circa 1994, multicamera sitcom “Are We There Yet” reps a disappointing retreat into blandness for showrunner Ali LeRoi and star Terry Crews, who last collaborated on the far superior “Everybody Hates Chris.” Nominally based on the Ice Cube-starring kiddie pic […]

  • DEADPOOL

    MPAA: Film, TV Industry Paid Out $49 Billion in 2016

    So innocuous and retro-minded it could have easily found a place on ABC’s “TGIF” lineup circa 1994, multicamera sitcom “Are We There Yet” reps a disappointing retreat into blandness for showrunner Ali LeRoi and star Terry Crews, who last collaborated on the far superior “Everybody Hates Chris.” Nominally based on the Ice Cube-starring kiddie pic […]

  • J.J. Abrams Broadway

    J.J. Abrams Sci-Fi Drama Series Shopped to Apple, HBO

    So innocuous and retro-minded it could have easily found a place on ABC’s “TGIF” lineup circa 1994, multicamera sitcom “Are We There Yet” reps a disappointing retreat into blandness for showrunner Ali LeRoi and star Terry Crews, who last collaborated on the far superior “Everybody Hates Chris.” Nominally based on the Ice Cube-starring kiddie pic […]

  • 9-1-1: Angela Bassett in the series

    '9-1-1' Renewed for Season 2 at Fox

    So innocuous and retro-minded it could have easily found a place on ABC’s “TGIF” lineup circa 1994, multicamera sitcom “Are We There Yet” reps a disappointing retreat into blandness for showrunner Ali LeRoi and star Terry Crews, who last collaborated on the far superior “Everybody Hates Chris.” Nominally based on the Ice Cube-starring kiddie pic […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content