Kevin Hart stars with Ice Cube in the new action comedy Ride Along! But is this buddy comedy worth your time or a disappointment? 411's Jeffrey Harris checks in with his full review!
Directed By: Tim Story Written By: Greg Coolidge, Jason Mantzoukas, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi Runtime: 100 minutes MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
Ben Barber - Kevin Hart Detective James - Ice Cube Angela - Tika Sumpter Santiago - John Leguizamo Miggs - Bryan Callen Lt. Brooks - Bruce McGill Crazy Cody - Gary Owen
Ride Along is in no ways a groundbreaking or even a downright hilarious buddy action comedy. The new film is the latest from director Tim Story, a director who look like he had fallen off the planet for some of the years following Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. This is not quite an ambitious of a project as a comic book superhero epic. The movie though is a decently watchable, if unspectacular exercise. I quite enjoy a good buddy action comedy, but The Heat or Hot Fuzz this was not.
Without an R-rating, stars Ice Cube and Kevin Hart canít go quite so far with their material like say recent films of this type such as The Heat or 21 Jump Street. It makes a lot of the movie feel rather tame and at times toothless with its material. Now granted Iím not a big phile of Kevin Hartís material or comedy style. I think heís got a lot of manic energy that reminds me a bit of Chris Tucker. Iíve quite enjoyed what Iíve seen from Real Husbands of Hollywood, though I can only watch the show for about 10 minute chunks to get the most out of it.
Hart is cast as Ben Barber, an average high school security guard that likes to spend most of his spare time playing first person shooters under the tag of ďBlack HammerĒ (referring to his manhood as he explains). Heís dating the lovely Angela (Sumpter), but in order to marry her, he has to get the permission of her overprotective older brother, James (Ice Cube). James is also a detective for the Atlanta Police Department and doesnít think too highly of Ben. Seeing Benís desperation to prove himself, James thinks he can trick Ben by taking him on a police ďride along.Ē Ben thinks it will be his way to prove himself to James, but he doesnít realize that James is simply trying to scare him away from Angela for good.
Along the way, James is attempting to squeeze his contacts for information on a powerful arms dealer called Omar, a man who is so elusive that no one has even seen his face. Ben unwittingly helps James out by uncovering some clues that lead to Omar. It doesnít take a genius to figure out ultimately how the rather predictable plot will go. Ben messes up and makes a fool himself while trying to show James that he is worthy of Angela. Eventually James and Ben find common ground, etc, etc. Itís all your basic buddy action comedy tropes and twists.
Ride Along for the most part though is watchable, though not spectacularly so. Ice Cube and Hart make a decent pair, but most of their material is never really what I would call hilarious. Itís at the most amusing. Some of Hartís bits cause a good chuckle, but thereís nothing as good as say The Heat or even the brilliance of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Thereís a fun, surprising appearance by a certain actor later into the movie that I donít really want to spoil, since it was one of the movieís better moments. But you can figure it out probably by looking at the opening credits or IMDB page, so do so at your own risk.
Thereís nothing groundbreaking or outstanding about Ride Along, but there is nothing horrendous or offensive about it either. So credit goes to Story for making a mild, decent comedic albeit average diversion, which for some people is enough for a regular trip to the movies.
The 411: Ride Along is an acceptable, inoffensive buddy action comedy. There's nothing exceptional about the film, but it provides some decent amusement for an hour and a half. Hart brings some able antics and pratfalls to the table, but the story seems shackled from being any edgier or funnier due to the PG-13 rating. The movie is probably not worth a full price trip to the movies, and it's more likely a better choice for a bargain matinee or Redbox rental.