99 Min | Action – Comedy | February 2014
IMDB Rating: 6.4
Director: Tim Story
Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Tika Sumpter
Ride Along Review: 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, “Ride Along” 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. “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.
Links to Download ‘Ride Along’ in the excellent SQ print: