Friday, September 5, 2014

Ride Along

Directed by Tim Story.
2014. Rated PG-13, 100 minutes.
Kevin Hart
Ice Cube
Tika Sumpter
Laurence Fishburne
John Leguizamo
Bryan Callen
Bruce McGill
Gary Owen
Jay Pharoah
David Banner
Gary Weeks

Ben (Hart) is in love with his girlfriend Angela (Sumpter). In fact, he plans on asking her to marry him. Since he's a traditional guy, somewhat, he wants to get permission to ask for her hand. Unfortunately, her dad is no longer around. That permission will have to come from her brother James (Ice Cube), an Atlanta cop. There's one small problem. James hates him. Ben's big plan to change James' mind: joining the police academy to prove his worth. Not wanting to let the process play out, James takes Ben on a ride along the next day while he's on duty. James intends to prove Ben doesn't have what it takes to take care of his baby sister. The trick he's going to use is he's going to respond to all of the worse calls possible. Hijinks and shenanigans ensue.

Once we get past the setup stages, Ride Along settles into buddy cop mode. True, only one of our leads is technically a cop, but it functions just the same. We move from one outrageous situation to the next where Ben talks himself into trouble and James has to get him out of it. In the background, there is also the case James is really working on: trying to bring down a local drug kingpin that no one has actually ever seen. To help with that, even though his boss has forbidden him working on it at all, are detectives Santiago (Leguizamo) and Miggs (Callen). All of this keeps the movie moving forward at a pretty good pace in a light-hearted manner.

The cast is a mixed bag. Kevin Hart loud talks his way through another role. You either find him funny or you do not. My experience has been that his stand-up is hilarious while what he does in movies is rather 'meh.' It's no different, here. That said, I must admit that most of the movie's funny moments are his. Mostly, this is because everyone else just makes the same joke over and over: Kevin Hart is short. We get it. Can we please move on?

When not making fun of his co-star's size, Ice Cube fares well as the one tasked with handling all the tough guy stuff. We're not talking any amazing stunts like the stuff he had to do, or make us believe he did, in XXX: State of the Union, but he definitely has the most physical role in this movie. Aside from the action scenes, though, he gets to be the annoyed, scowling Cube, but in a somewhat comic way like he was in Are We Done Yet? He's not going to remind anyone of Jason Statham, but he doesn't embarrass himself, either.

What Ride Along tries to be is a comedic spin on Training Day. It even explicitly references that film several times. However, the weaknesses of RA serve only to highlight the strength of TD. For one, there is no personality here anywhere near as strong as the one provided by Denzel Washington in that movie. Denzel commanded our attention. He made us thoroughly hate him. It was some of the actor's most compelling work in a storied career. In this movie, every character comes off as standard fare, regardless of the role they're playing. There is no depth to any of them. The same can be said for the story. It's all run-of-the-mill and completely lacking the tension that drives TD. I know. This is not a heavy police drama, but a fun cop flick. Even at being that, RA is only moderately successful. It's funny in spots, but never gets us to sustain our laughter long enough to overlook its faults.

MY SCORE: 5/10


  1. I couldn't even finish this movie, I thought it was terrible. It's a shame too, because I love Kevin Hart and Ice Cube is usually hilarious.

    1. Yeah, most of the things they were trying didn't quite work out.

  2. I like Kevin Hart's stand up and so I thought I would like this movie, but it fell far short of spectacular. I've never been much of a fan of Ice Cube, his roles in Are We There Yet? ruined any future movie I see starring him (well, except for 21 Jump Street, I thought he was hilarious in that). Ride Along was as you put it moderately entertaining, as a comedy but as a action flick it was lacking. Good review.
    Mike's Cinema | Ride Along (2014)

    1. Far short of spectacular is a great way to describe it.

  3. Wow. Tell us how you really feel. lol.

  4. I saw Ride Along in the cinema and probably found it funnier just from the general atmosphere at the time. I did actually enjoy it at the time, but a few months later I can barely remember any of it, so it certainly isn't a memorable movie for me. Great review!
    - Allie

    1. I don't think it's very memorable for anyone. Thanks.