A little Kevin Hart goes a long way in “Ride Along,” a dull buddy picture
engineered as a vehicle for the mini motor mouth and the perma-sneering Ice
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 shoot
outs 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 Jame’s supermodel sister (Tika Sumpter, all legs and shorts and cleavage and
James figures sis should 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
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 one concert film and in supporting parts — a few
killer scenes where he comes in, lands laughs, and splits — in everything from
TV’s “Freak 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.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence, sexual content and brief strong
Cast: Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, John Leguizamo, Tika Sumpter, Bruce McGill,
Credits: Directed by Tim Story, written by Greg Coolidge, Jason Mantzoukas,
Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. A Universal release.
<Running time: 1:40