In "Are We There Yet?," Ice Cube plays Nick Persons, a wealthy bachelor who owns a sports memorabilia store, dates beautiful women, and has no intention of settling down. Always on the prowl for a new conquest, Nick notices a gorgeous prospect (Nia Long) across the street from his store. Putting on his most winning smile, Nick heads across the street to get a closer look, but slams on the brakes when the gorgeous prospect turns out to be the mother of two kids.
Getting involved with a single mom is a definite no-no and goes against all of Nicks rules for dating. But when the beautiful mom needs his help, he cant resist. One thing leads to another and suddenly Nick finds himself trapped in his brand spanking new car on a road trip with two kids who hate him and are determined to drive him crazy.
In this interview, rapper/actor/producer Ice Cube discusses the evolution of his career, taking on a family-friendly project, and getting torn up working on his next movie, XXX: State of the Union:
INTERVIEW WITH ICE CUBE:
This is your first real foray into family films, isnt it?
Yeah, yeah. You know, this is a good one. With the Friday series we did like the R-rated comedy. Then, you know, we had the Barbershop, and Barbershop 2 was pretty much PG-13. Here we go with a shot at trying to get the whole audience with a PG movie.
This is your first time really working with kids. What was that experience like?
It was cool. I was a little nervous at first. I didnt know really what to expect. I didnt know if they were going to be ready to go in the beginning and kind of bored towards the end. I never knew what kind of temperament they [were] going to have. But when I started working with them, I feel that they are more professional than a lot of the adults that I work with because they know their lines, they are ready to go, and very directable. They look bad in the movie, but theyre real good kids in real life.
In developing the script, was there anything you felt was just too over the top?
Oh yeah. You know, I had a long discussion with [director] Brian Levant about the Satchel Paige bobblehead part because the last thing I wanted to do was a corny kids movie that, you know, was something that I wouldnt enjoy myself. So we had a little talk. He put me at ease that this wouldnt be too over the top. It would be more of a fantasy for kids if we had something like that in the movie because kids like that kind of stuff. It puts the magic into it. That was the only thing because everything else we had written out of the script. This movie was originally [written] for Adam Sandler and he couldnt do it, so we had to tailor-make it kind of for me.
What was it like filming scenes where you talk to a bobblehead? Did you get to keep the bobblehead at the end of the shoot?
(Laughing) Ive got a couple of them. It was cool. It was like talking to this microphone, you know? You dont expect too many lines or words back until they get it on the computer. It was cool. It was my first time having to do something like that, talk to a bobblehead and have it [talk back]. They were moving it with a little string and it was kind of funny.
Whats the message of this movie?
Its a message about guys who get to women with children. Sometimes guys just want the girl and want to drop the kids off anywhere they can. This is just to tell guys its a package. You like a woman, shes got kids, its a package. You cant just go in one-sided. Its pretty cool. We didnt want to beat you over the head with some kind of message. But the message had to be in there for Nick to go through the change where first all he cared all about were his material objects. By the end, he was giving them away.
What was it about this particular role that made you sign on?
Like I said, it was originally [written] for Adam Sandler. And once they said I could kind of take it and tailor-make it for myself Anytime you can tailor-make something for you, hopefully youre right for it because I would hate to tailor-make the movie for myself and then look at it and say, Damn, I cant do this. So that was a big factor. Ive got four kids. Ive seen every kid movie there is since like 1985 and now it was the time for me to try one, and try and do a good one.
Was it your idea to make this guy a baseball nut or was that already in the script?
No, no. I wanted to make him like a sports memorabilia guy. We had to have an interaction with the kid in the beginning to kind of show what kind of guy he is. So I thought it would be the perfect way to do it was to have him with these fine sports collectibles and you have these kids looking for like Digimon cards and Pokemon stuff. So that was like a good set-up. It was just better for me, in that character, to play that guy.