Take a Drink: for every overhead shot of Miami
Take a Drink: for every close-up of a bikini-clad woman
Take a Drink: “Brothers-in-law” (get it? get it?)
Take a Drink: at every short joke
Take a Drink: for every mention of hydrangeas
Do a Shot: for every totaled expensive car
By; BabyRuth (Five Beers) –
Ride Along 2 is the latest unnecessary sequel to a Tim Story movie starring Kevin Hart. Like Think Like a Man Too, it exists solely due to the popularity of Hart (who appears in no less than three movies whose previews accompany this feature).
We last left Ben Barber (Hart) finally earning the respect of future brother-in-law James (Ice Cube) after helping save the day in Ride Along. Now a real cop, albeit still in a probationary period, Ben hopes to finally earn the respect of future brother-in-law James…uh, again…by tagging along…uh, again…this time on a trip to Miami to locate a hacker (Ken Jeong) who can lead them to some bad guy who is smuggling drugs and weapons blah blah blah- generic action-comedy movie plotline.
There are lots of bad guys in Miami.
There were two parts that got actual laughs out of me. One was a pretty funny bit about cell phone ringtones. The other was a likely ad-libbed sequence featuring Hart’s character playing a ridiculous video game. Both moments could have easily landed with a thud (as pretty much everything else in this movie does), but Hart somehow manages to save them.
Yes, he’s good, but although he tries (and try his damnedest he does), Hart can only do so much with the lame, recycled material. Most of the “jokes” involve him falling down, screwing something up, and of course, screeching. And it’s all as predictable as the plot. Where there is a ledge, Ben will fall off it. Where there is a boat, Ben will fall off that too. Where there’s a ceiling fan, Ben will hit his head on it as well as –waitforit – fall. Where there is an audio-activated security system, do I need to say it? He’s basically a smaller, louder Paul Blart. Somehow his character got dumber and clumsier since the first movie.
Coming in 2017 – it’s Hart and Blart! Watch them fall down and yell and fall down some more in…
Ride Along 3: Ice Cube’s Over It
So far this has been all about Kevin Hart. So let’s address the rest of the cast.
I’m convinced the reason Ice Cube wears sunglasses throughout nearly the entire movie is because he is actually sleepwalking his way through it, every now and then waking up to scowl and blurt out an insult or threat to Hart’s character. It’s as if the first movie never happened and the two are meeting each other for the first time.
Speaking of, whatever shred of chemistry the pair had in Ride Along (Did they have any? I don’t remember, and I reviewed that one) is non-existent here. It’s the buddy movie equivalent of a horse’s tail swatting away a pesky fly.
Tika Sumpter returns as Ben’s fiancée/James’s sister and is given very little to do other than obsess about wedding details and wear a sexy cop outfit at one point.
Ken Jeong is added for a Joe Pesci-in-Lethal-Weapon dynamic, but instead it’s a Ken-Jeong-in-everything dynamic.
“And I thought you were annoying!”
Olivia Munn is wasted as a no-nonsense Miami officer assigned to work with Ben and James. She’s really only there to serve as a potential love interest for James and to show up in one scene inexplicably wearing a sports bra (because apparently there weren’t enough scantily clad women in this movie).
“Yeah, um, wardrobe supervisor, are you sure this is right?”
Sherri Shepherd (the only woman in the movie who does not appear in a skimpy outfit) is cast in a thankless role as Ben and Angela’s wedding planner to give Hart another person to verbally spar with. A running joke about hydrangeas gets old very quickly.
Madonna did it better.
Benjamin Bratt plays Antonio Pope, the rich and charismatic villain disguised as a pillar of the community. The role is one-note and so derivative of every movie bad guy ever that the character makes a meta reference to it. Still, Bratt has fun with it.
He seems to be the only person who is having any fun at all.
The action scenes are as uninspired as the comedy bits. It’s all very Michael Bay-lite, with big shoot-outs and bigger explosions. But there’s no suspense and it never feels like the main characters are in any real danger.
There is, however, a head-scratcher of a stylistic decision to turn a car chase into a Grand Theft Auto-type video game (remember Ben loves his video games- character development!) and I’m not sure if it works or not, but at least it was an attempt to try something original – the one instance in this entire movie. So, half-toast for that?
Not that this film ever feels like it takes place in real-life, but how many innocent people were maimed or maybe even killed during the many car chases, nightclub shoot-outs, and hot pursuits (speaking of, that was a better movie than this), not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages? Yet James and Ben only get in almost trouble, and of course all is forgiven in the end. They not only don’t face any consequences for their reckless actions, but are commended for their stellar police work. Sure, why not? That makes about as much sense as everything else in this movie.
If you didn’t like Ride Along, you won’t like Ride Along 2. If you liked Ride Along, well you miiight tolerate Ride Along 2 (special shout-out to the two women sitting next to me who talked and texted throughout the entire screening, occasionally looking up to cackle on cue whenever Kevin Hart fell down). If you just need a Kevin Hart buddy comedy fix, I suggest waiting for Central Intelligence (co-starring Dwayne Johnson), which has to be better than this mess of a cash-grab.