Ride Along Directed by: Tim Story Cast: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Tika Sumpter Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: January 17, 2014
PLOT: Ben (Hart) wants to impress his cop brother-in-law James (Cube), and joins him on a ride along of Atlanta.
WHO'S IT FOR? If you worship Ice Cube, I don't understand you. Hart is the reason to bother.
There is one reason to sit through Ride Along. First, let’s get to the reasons not to watch this film in the theater. The direction of the film is uninspired, and it feels as generic as the director’s name (Tim Story). You will see most of the bad guys and the basic story points coming well before they happen. If, for some reason you don’t, no worries. The script over-explains everything. That’s right, almost no thinking necessary! The attempted link between being a gamer and having that help in real-world cop situations is strained at best. Another reason not to bother is Ice Cube. He’s not a good actor. There is nothing real about him inhabiting a tough-minded, loner cop, and over-protective brother. The best they try to do is have him speak in the titles of his songs. Also, for an action-comedy I can’t think of one sequence I liked, except for Hart getting kicked back when firing a shotgun at a shooting range.
So, why see Ride Along? It’s another chance to hang out with the insanely likable Hart. He has an enthusiasm that is absolutely addictive. I recently rewatched Black Sheep and this film completely reminds me of that one in this regard; it relies on the charisma of a truly funny man and has nothing more to offer than seeing him do his thing. Sometimes that’s enough. Sure, there are minor complaints with Hart’s role. When will Hollywood realize we know, and have heard enough jokes, about Hart’s size? I know he’s short, you know he’s short. Having other character’s crack jokes at his expense is getting old.
A note for parents, the film stretches the limits of PG-13. Sure, there is the violence which seems to be permeating every PG-13 film now, but there is also a lot of “adult talk.” Man, I sound old. There is consistent talk about dick size, and sex. Just keep that in mind if you and your kid love Hart and are planning on seeing this together.
Because of his brilliant standup comedy, I find myself rooting for Hart. I hope he will have the chance to star in a film that is worthy of him. Ride Along isn’t that opportunity.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10