Two hopefully-not-feature-length retro action movies get shown back-to-back in theaters this spring, thanks to overgrown children Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. In the first one, "Death Proof," a mentally unbalanced Kurt Russell drives around in a stunt car and kills chicks (can't imagine why that wasn't seen as worthy of a full-length movie). In another, "Planet Terror," a woman with a gun for a leg (Rose McGowan) shoots zombies with her gun-leg (again, how did this not get its own film to breathe?).
At this point in their careers, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino could film a movie where Richard Roundtree has a big afro, says "Fuck," and holds a turd for two hours, and college kids across America would have to wipe steam off their horn-rimmed glasses from the powerful orgasms wracking them in the theater. Seriously, though, a chick with a machine gun for a leg? That's. Fucking. Stupid.
A machine gun for an arm: Okay, that's actually pretty cool. But a gun for a leg is like one step above just giving her the damn thing for a head, and proves Tarantino and Rodriguez have crossed the line this time for how much ironic detachment you're allowed to have when resuscitating a crappy exploitation genre. Do we really need to hold everything that's thirty years old and kind of funny to watch now up to the sun like some kind of lost masterpiece? We'd argue that we don't, and even if we did, there's certainly no reason to involve Kurt Russell.
Picking up unnecessarily where 2005's Are We There Yet? left off, Ice Cube hooks up a U-Haul trailer to his blinged-out Escalade and moves his newly pregnant wife and his stepkids out to the sticks. Their beautiful new house is a fixer-upper, their realtor (John C. McGinley) admits, but the Cube thinks he's up to the task. Turns out he's not, so they call in the local contractor (also McGinley, who's got a good racket going).
And from there, aside from assorted scenes of the house falling apart comedically, such as some windows that fall out of their frame accompanied by a slide-whistle sound effect, the trailer turns into some sort of bizarre war between humans and the animal kingdom. A boy shoots a pigeon with a nail gun. A dog drags the boy across a lawn. The boy is pulled into a lake while fishing, prompting Ice Cube to dive in and wrestle an enormous fish. Ice Cube picks up an adorable (though poorly computer generated) chipmunk, only to have it snatched from his hand by a hawk. Ice Cube crawls onto his porch roof to brain a raccoon with a mop, only to fall through. What the hell is going on here?
Sure, Ice Cube was great as the drug dealer who avenged his half-brother's drive-by shooting in Boyz in the Hood, but you know who would have been perfect? A young Tom Hanks, back in his period when he just basically yelled all the time.
No, exactly, that would be awful. So what's Ice Cube doing in The Money Pit? Granted, both The Money Pit and Are We Done Yet? are remakes of the Cary Grant/Myrna Loy comedy Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. But that still doesn't excuse swiping gags directly from the Hanks film, such as the electrical wiring exploding across the wall in a fiery trail. Of course, The Money Pit didn't feature a bitter war of extermination against the local fauna.
But the real issue? You used to be cool, Ice Cube. Hell, you used to scare us, way back when you spent all your time looking angry and fucking tha police. Now you've neutered yourself and you keep foisting one terrible family comedy after another on us. Are We Done Yet? God, we hope so.