Loading…
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Current Weather
Loading Current Weather....
HomeA&EMovies
Published: 1/17/2014

MOVIE REVIEW

Hart, Ice Cube don’t do the buddy comedy any favors in ‘Ride Along’

BY ROGER MOORE
ORLANDO SENTINEL
Ice Cube, left, and Kevin Hart in a scene from "Ride Along." Ice Cube, left, and Kevin Hart in a scene from "Ride Along."
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

A little Kevin Hart goes a long way in Ride Along, a dull buddy picture engineered as a vehicle for the mini-motor mouth Hart and the perma-sneering Ice Cube.

It’s mismatched cops on patrol in Atlanta in this 48 Hours / Bad Boys / Showtime / The Hard Way action comedy where four screenwriters tried to find funny bug-eyed rants for the normally amusing Hart to deliver in between shootouts and chases. But as producers of assorted Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell, and Eddie Murphy movies could have told them, just pointing the camera at a funny guy is never enough to save a lame, worn-out idea.

Cube, whose career seemed over after one too many Are We There Yet? sequels, is cranky cop James, whose pursuit of a mysterious villain named Omar is interrupted by his sister’s fiance. That would be Ben (Hart), a video game-addicted school security guard who longs to bring his wise-cracking / voice-cracking banter to the Atlanta P.D. James drags Ben on a ride-along just to convince the dude he isn’t cut out for police work and that he isn’t good enough for James’ supermodel sister Angela (Tika Sumpter, all legs and shorts and cleavage and hair products).

Ride Along

Directed by Tim Story. Written by Greg Coolidge, Jason Mantzoukas, Phil Hay, and Matt Manfredi.

A Universal release, playing at Cinemark Franklin Park, Fallen Timbers, and Levis Commons.

Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, sexual content, and brief strong language

Critic’s rating:

Cast: Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, John Leguizamo, Tika Sumpter, Bruce McGill, Laurence Fishburne.

James figures sis should be dating an Atlanta Falcon, an Atlanta Brave, “or even somebody from the Hawks.” Instead, she’s hooked up with this sweet-talking shrimp who’s “about one chromosome away from being a midget.”

No, James isn’t politically correct.

He drags Ben along for a Training Day of botched interventions with bikers, silliness at the shooting range and a strip club shootout. Because there’s no such thing as a cop buddy movie without a trip to a strip club.

Even by the standards of this well-worn genre, Ride Along is a lazy movie, insulting the audience by letting us stay five steps ahead of the hack screenwriters.

At several points, Hart takes center stage, plants his feet and unloads on a student headed down the wrong path, on a biker moll who has more facial hair than he can manage, etc. Sometimes, he finds a laugh or two. Often, these ranting monologues run out of gas before they start. His girlish shrieks at the first sign of danger are funnier, but not by much. And you start to wonder if Ice Cube’s feigned irritation with him involved any acting at all.

Hart has been funny in concert films and in supporting parts — a few killer scenes where he comes in, lands laughs, and splits — in everything from TV’s Freaks and Geeks to Think Like a Man and last summer’s This is the End. But as this film and his boring bit part in Grudge Match proved, a little of the little man is pretty much all we can stand unless he finds somebody who can write for him.



Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.

Related stories