Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Two men who are polar opposites are put in a situation in which they must work together. They butt heads at first but eventually realize they need each other’s help and form an unlikely friendship in the process.
Why did you let me finish that? I said to stop me.
Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) is a video game loving high school security guard. His big dream, though, is to become a cop. He hopes his acceptance into the police academy will finally impress his girlfriend Angela’s (Tika Sumpter, who barely ever gets to be fully clothed) hard-as-nails big brother James (Ice Cube), a well-respected but loose cannon police officer. To give you an idea of how much of a loose cannon James is, in the first five minutes of the movie he’s involved in a blown undercover operation which he single-handedly escalates into a shoot-out in a crowd of pedestrians, then a high-speed car chase with stolen cars. But he’s one of the best, so his boss just tells him to cool it.
James is super-protective of his sister, like creepily break into her apartment super-protective, and despite the fact that she is happy and in love, feels Ben is not good enough for her and refuses to give the couple his blessing to get married.
Because he knows best and she shouldn’t be trusted to make her own decisions. And also because Ben once accidentally set him on fire at a barbecue.
After a heated argument, James gets the idea to take Ben on a ride along and scare him into realizing his unworthiness of Angela and of becoming a police officer. Of course, things don’t go as planned and Ben unwittingly ends up getting involved in a case James has been trying to crack for years. Oh how will this ever end?
Originally intended to star
The Rock Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds, Ride Along evolved somewhere along the way into a showcase for Kevin Hart. Currently on a career high after supporting roles in movies like Think Like A Man (also directed by Tim Story), Grudge Match, and his very successful own comedy concert film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, the perpetually turned-up-to-eleven Hart swings for the fences in his every scene. How often he succeeds depends on the viewer’s tolerance for Hart’s brand of comedy. I’m personally somewhere in the middle on that, but I did find myself laughing quite a few times, mostly at Hart’s quieter, well-timed, and most likely-improvised bits in between the pratfalls and hysterics. Underneath all the zaniness though, Hart does prove he is capable of carrying a movie by giving his lovable loser character a sweetness you can’t help but root for and does the absolute most possible with the material. I look forward to seeing him in something better.
Ice Cube plays the tough, stoic, straight-man and is appropriately intimidating, though it’s a one-note (and one-face) performance. Again, I blame this more on the material than on his abilities.
This is the only time he smiles in the entire movie.
This is the type of popcorn action-comedy that people go to see for big explosions and shoot-outs and there’s certainly no shortage of those, so I guess that deserves a toast for meeting the quota.
Big stuff go boom!
It’s pretty amazing that there were not one, not two, not three, but four writers involved in the making of this movie and this formulaic screenplay was the best they were able to come up with.
Well actually, it wasn’t so amazing after I did a quick search and learned these writers are also responsible for movies such as R.I.P.D., Employee of the Month, and Sorority Boys.
I apologize if I brought up any terrible memories.
There’s nothing new here. It’s the same contrived, by-the-numbers buddy cop flick we’ve all seen dozens of times before. I’d even hesitate to call it “by-the-numbers,” since I don’t think a person needs to be able to count to correctly predict what’s going to happen next or figure out the “big” plot twists (as well as notice the big plot holes). It’s derivative of pretty much every other movie in the genre to the point that it seems like the writers cut and pasted actual scenes from other movies and swapped in the characters’ names.
It’s also worth pointing out that the smartest character in this movie is a 10-year old kid.
Why bother casting John Leguizamo, a talented comedic actor (and forever Miss Chi Chi Rodriguez to me), and then not give him anything funny to do? The same goes for the cameo of Saturday Night Live’s Jay Pharoah.
Well, at least it’s a paycheck.
I’m assuming that the reveal of previously unseen bad guy kingpin Omar was supposed to be a big surprise. It sure is presented that way. But it isn’t a big surprise. Wanna know why? Because the name of the actor that plays Omar is shown in the opening credits and he is the biggest star out of everyone in this movie! So it’s pretty easy to figure out since you know this person is in the movie and don’t see him for over half of it.
Look, this is a generic buddy cop comedy released in January, what the hell do you expect? If you check your brain at the door, it provides some mindless amusement and Hart’s performance elevates it somewhat above Walmart bargain bin territory, which is what I’d suggest waiting for to see it.
Take a Drink: every time the name “Omar” is mentioned.
Take a Drink: every time someone makes a joke about Ben’s small stature.
Take a Drink: at every Training Day reference.
Take a Drink: every time James does something that would result in him losing his badge in the real world.
Take a Drink: every time Kevin Hart falls down or gets thrown into the air.
Do a Shot: when Ice Cube quotes his own song.
Last Call: we’re treated to a payoff of the ongoing barbecue story. I’ll give you one guess as to how it ends.