This was the same old buddy-cop script we have seen before with two new actors plugged in. The comedic elements quickly faded with repetition and the result was just another average action-comedy.
Every once and awhile a comedy will stand above the rest and pull in a massive box-office profit. The last was “Ted” in the summer of 2012. The action-comedy “Ride Along” was another that stars Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. The supporting cast consists of Tika Sumpter, Laurence Fishburne, Bruce McGill and John Leguizamo.
High School security guard Ben Barber (Hart) has two dreams; to marry his longtime girlfriend Angela (Sumpter), and to become a police officer. Much to his surprise, acceptance to the academy will be much easier than gaining the approval of Angela’s older brother, tough-cop James Payton (Cube). Despite the odds against him, Ben tries to get closer to James by going on a ride along to prove his worth as a man. Neither of them will suspect that their short time together will be long enough for them to stumble into a large criminal operation.
When I first saw the trailer for this film it made me chuckle a few times. I assumed the bulk of the funny moments had just been shown to me and I was undecided if I’d rush to check it out despite being a big fan of Ice Cube as well as the emerging Kevin Hart. After it was released the news of its profits were hard to miss. Unknowingly my expectations increased as a result. The problem was they shouldn’t have because this film was not only what I had originally expected, but it was to some extent, not even as good as that.
This film wasn’t all bad, Kevin Hart had his moments and there was a steady fill of chuckles, but not nearly as many laughs as you would hope. He did his best to carry the comedic element of the film but with some spotty writing he began to rely on the same joke over and over. By the time the second half of the film came around you had virtually heard it all and the rest of the story was filled with more of his screaming and yelling and much of the same generic punchlines. Despite that, Hart was the lone bright spot in this rather dull, and at times surprisingly boring action-comedy.
The biggest disappointment was Ice Cube, no one will confuse him for an Oscar worthy actor but he is very skilled and usually delivers decent performances at the least. Either this script, his character, or his initial lack of confidence in this project seemed to pull the enthusiasm out of him and the result was a lackluster lead character with no depth and really no comedic delivery in a film that relied on just that. He clearly seemed to be going through the motions while Hart carried the load. For a buddy-cop movie the key ingredient is two lead characters, this film simply had one.
“Ride Along” had a weak plot and despite being only slightly longer then ninety-minutes the story-line seemed to take forever to develop when we all can predict what the end result will be. This film really tried nothing new and seemed much like a knock-off of a “Blue Streak” or “All About the Benjamin’s” but with much less entertainment value. John Leguizamo was rather unused and could have brought more to his role given some better writing. This role seemed perfect for him to deliver some of his comedic abilities but it never happened. Laurence Fishburne’s character was as recycled as villains get and he showed zero passion in his performance, no matter how minimal his screen time was.
Overall this film was a disappointment and it goes to show we can never be 100% sure what will rake in huge box-office profits, nor that a film will be great just because of that. How this film made so much money is beyond my comprehension, it was not terrible but nothing close to a great action-comedy.
Time: 99 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For sequences of violence, sexual content and brief strong language)