Reviews — 17 January 2014 » Written by
<i>Ride Along</i> review

Ride-Along-poster-smallThroughout 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.

ride-along-postSome 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.

Official site.

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About Author

Kyle Harter

Kyle Harter recently relocated to Philadelphia after receiving his BA in Film from the University of Central Florida. Kyle aspires to a career of filmmaking, writing, and adventure. Kyle has a mild obsession with Quentin Tarantino, coffee, and Corgis. He co-authors the film blog, The Main Squeeze.

(1) Reader Comment

  1. Fresh off of his hit stand-up comedy film, “Let Me Explain,” Kevin Hart returns to the big screen with “Ride Along.” While it may be far from the most memorable comedy, I can’t help but admit I enjoyed sitting through it.

    Kevin Hart plays Ben, an eccentric man who wants to marry the love of his life, Angela (played by Tika Sumpter). Before he does, he seeks to get the blessing of her brother James (played by Ice Cube), a tough, loose cannon cop. In order to prove he’s worthy of marrying James’ sister, Ben must join James on a day on his job as an officer. Eventually, the two get wrapped up in a case neither of them were expecting.

    As expected, the film plays out like a typical buddy-cop comedy: a cop teams up with someone he doesn’t like or agree with and the two have to attempt to get along. While this basic plot line has indeed been done to death, this film makes the fortunate decision to skip out on many movie clichés. There is no third-act-breakup, no mopey montage, and no “you’re off the case” or “you’re fired” scene. While a lack of these clichés does hamper the conflict, it is quite refreshing to see them absent from the film. On the other hand, the script lends itself to other flaws. Several scenes seem to be included for the sole purpose of filling time (such as a random cameo by Jacob Latimore that amounts to nothing). Moreover, the story can be very predictable at time, even with a couple of random and nonsensical plot twists thrown in. Still though, there is a lot of good to this film.

    The dialogue, while far from quotable, is consistently funny and is almost guaranteed to keep the theater laughing. The jokes are delivered on a regular basis and never stray too far into campy or mean-spirited territory. Unlike films like “Identity Thief” and “A Madea Christmas,” the tone of the film never strays from a comedic romp and always keeps the laughs coming.

    Kevin Hart’s performance itself is arguably worth the price of admission. Hart’s lines are delivered with the impression that he is enjoying making this movie, and his high-energy presence is sure to please his fans. If you are a fan of Kevin Hart, you will most likely enjoy his screen-presence and his great chemistry with Ice Cube even if you find the script to be lacking.

    “Ride Along,” may not go down as a comedic legend, but in my eyes, it is certainly worth checking out at least as a rental. The flawed script can indeed be overlooked by the gleeful dialogue and Kevin Hart’s enthusiasm. I’d say give it a shot, it wouldn’t hurt to check it out.

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