Throughout the years comedic cop movies have stapled their way as a subgenre in the cinematic world. The classics of course being, Beverly Hills Cop and the Naked Gun series among the greats. Tim Story’s Ride Along is far from the caliber of the classics, but it’s a fun ride that the whole audience can enjoy.
Ride Along is filled with laughs throughout the entirety of the film. That’s due in no small part to the performance of Kevin Hart playing the role of Ben Barber. Ben is a high school security cop that has dreams of attending the police academy and providing for his fiancée to be, Angela (Tika Sumpter). The hitch is that she can’t go forward with any engagement until Ben receives a blessing from Angela’s tough cop of a brother James (Ice Cube). James agrees to take Ben out for a Ride Along to prove that he is not fit to marry his kid sister. What soon follows is a tale of Code 126s, an ongoing gun-dealing case, and a slew of obstacles that stand in Ben’s way of gaining James’ approval.
The movie wasn’t bad in any respect. Truth be told, it wasn’t exactly good either. However, those characteristics can’t disqualify the fact that Ride Along will make people laugh. Kevin Hart is the key to success in that respect. With his charismatic, animated, and unpredictable reactions, he captures the audience in a state of laughter that will reassure them that their money was well spent. Ice Cube delivered a quality performance for an actor that is still finding his rhythm. One can admire him for his consistency at improvement over the years. The duo appeared to have solid chemistry, but there were moments where the lack of a well-developed script failed them.
Some areas that I believe could have been improved upon during development was the writing of the script and story creation. There are plenty of holes in the storyline that prevent the viewer from attaching themselves to the bond that Ben and James form in the film. Yes, James’ character doesn’t trust anyone to be his partner, but it would have helped had someone elaborated on the reason why. The underlying plot point of James finding the mysterious Omar hooks in the audience as they follow him on discovering this highly sought after criminal. However, the downside to this plot point is that the progressive clues that are presented in the story are incredibly obvious and distract from the quality of the story. One final point of the story’s criticism is that it drags on. The climax is assumed to have happened in three different portions of the third act, and it’s challenging for the viewer to remain entertained and intrigued by the plot.
One can easily nitpick everything wrong with this film in efforts to deem it a lackluster attempt at comedy. However, that is not the case with Ride Along. As long as the rumored sequel doesn’t come into fruition, then this film will remain a quality stamp on successful careers for both Hart and Ice Cube.
Ride Along is now playing in Philly theaters.