Ride Along (2014)

Buddy-Cop films just won’t die out. So many times, we see similar routines and the outcome is always the same. Then, there are those films that pit two rivals together and force them to become friends by the end of the film. Of course, what’s a Buddy-Cop movie without some comedy? You’d think that some film will come along and break apart from the typical tropes and schemes, but that’s yet to really happen. For the most part, the comedy is still a fun aspect and if the characters have some good chemistry, that’s enough to get you through the film in one piece.

Ben and Angela are quite the couple.
Ben and Angela are quite the couple.

Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) is a high school police enforcer and an avid video game player. Despite his small physique, he’s got a lot of energy and the determination to marry his girlfriend, Angela (Tika Sumpter). The only problem, is that Angela won’t marry him unless her brother gives his blessing. That’d be fine, except for the fact that her brother, James (Ice Cube), is an unconventional police officer who disapproves of Ben. He believes that Ben is a waste of a person and that he has no redeeming values. Well, Ben is set to prove James wrong, even if it means going on a ride along with him.

Of course, James doesn’t care about Ben and goes out of his way to put him to the test in the “field”. Creating mock scenarios, James tries to shake Ben off, but Ben’s optimism and love for Angela keeps him going. In the back of his mind, James is also worried about Omar (Lawrence Fishburn), a Siberian mob leader who is bringing weapons into Atlanta. With the help of his buddies Santiago (John Leguizamo) and Miggs (Bryan Callen), he’ll try to find Omar and make up for all his time spent trying to catch him. The only way that’s going to happen, is if Ben doesn’t interfere with his work!

Ben plays under the alias "Black Hammer".
Ben plays under the alias “Black Hammer”.

Ride Along is a film that relies solely on its lead actors to gain your interest in this film. Usually, that’s not a problem in most comedies. Here, however, you’ve got one comedian who’s very good and another who’s very bad. Everything was so off-balance in this film and I tried my best to look past that and have fun. There are some genuinely funny moments in this film, but they’re few and far between.

Ice Cube is probably the only actor in this film that makes it worth seeing. He’s got the “tough guy” persona and he’s really funny (when he wants to be). His character is real enough that he can try to live a normal life, while still having some regrets and passions to follow in his career. His banter with Hart is pretty funny and his overall reactions to scenarios are a lot of fun to watch. He resurfaced into the realm of acting with 21 Jump Street and plays a similar character here. To be honest, I’m perfectly okay with that, because that character had me howling in my seat. Ice Cube can do it all and he proves so again here.

James looks thrilled to be having Ben ride along with him.
James looks thrilled to be having Ben ride along with him.

Kevin Hart, on the other hand, is someone who I’m very on the fence about. At times, he’ll have me busting a gut and will have me holding my sides. He has some really great material, but then he goes and ruins it all. How, you may ask? Well, Hart is one of those guys who takes things way too far. It’s funny at first, but Hart has a tendency to keep going and lose your interest in what he’s droning on about. Plus, almost every other joke is about his size and that gets really old. We get it, you’re insanely short for a grown man. In every film of his, he always has to address it and I just wish that he wouldn’t. He also gets to a point where he just screams in a high-pitched voice and it gets very irritating, very fast.

As far as story is concerned, Ride Along is missing something. It follows the usual beats that you would assume it would and things play out according to plan until, the film tries to pull one over on you and trick you with a twist. Albeit a very dumb twist that is telegraphed early on. When it happens, you’re not all that surprised and then following the twist is a sequence that drags on for far too long and ends up being rather silly. Things get unrealistic quickly and everything tries to tie itself back to video games and it’s just dumb.

James and Ben see some crazy stuff on the ride along.
James and Ben see some crazy stuff on the ride along.

For a 100-minute movie, this film feels like it’s at least two-hours long. Whether it’s the over-the-top comedy that won’t end, or the multiple points where the film could end, the film slows down and starts to bore you. The ending that they do decide to go with is also boring and predictable and all the build-up ultimately leads to a swift moment that’s not funny. The humor felt forced and wasn’t all that put together. A lot of the jokes rely on Kevin Hart’s terrible execution, or Ice Cube’s tough attitude. Had they been well-written jokes, perhaps this movie would have fared better. Unfortunately, the jokes and the movie weren’t all that great.

While I didn’t laugh at Ride Along for the most part, there were still a few moments that managed to elicit a chuckle out of me. It’s not all bad humor, I just wish that it was smarter humor. I really didn’t enjoy Kevin Hart here and I think he needs to slow down with his movies, because people are going to get tired of him really quickly. He has some talent, he just needs to refine it and build upon it. As it stands, Ride Along isn’t the best movie ever, but it’s the funniest movie of 2014 (as it’s the only new comedy in theaters). If you’re looking for mindless, dirty jokes, look no further.

Ride Along Trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5klp6rkHIks

2 STARS!!!

2 / 5 stars     

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