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This pseudo-buddy cop film starts off the year of Kevin Hart overload on a good note.
Review (with Spoilers)
In the first of three films in which Kevin Hart is starring in this year, February will have About Last Night and then in the summer we’ll have Think Like a Man 2, we have Kevin and Ice Cube combining talents. And for those who like Hart’s comedy act persona, meaning him acting tough until things get serious and then he starts screaming like a child, this maybe the movie for you.
Characters & Story
Ben (played by Kevin Hart) is a high school security guard with a love for shooting games, and with dreams of becoming a cop. He lives with his fiancée Angela (played by Tika Sumpter) and, from what it seems, they both are quite and love and are even at the point of planning to get married soon. Thing is, Angela’s brother, and sort of father figure, James (played by Ice Cube) doesn’t like Ben and this bothers Angela.
Leading to what is the meat of the film which deals with Ben proving himself not just worthy enough to be Angela’s husband, but join James on Atlanta’s police force. So, James gives him a chance by taking him on a ride along, filled with crimes which are all self-made, and along the way the James’ current 2-year case against a crime lord named Omar (played by Laurence Fishbourne) gains traction. Thus leading to an adventure in which originally James is just trying to get Ben out of his life, but ends up with Ben becoming more than he expected him to be.
In total, I at least got 45 laughs out of this movie and must say though Ice Cube and Kevin Hart pretty much play the same people, with slightly different backgrounds, in all of their productions, they do it so well. Kevin Hart playing a sort of man-child allows him to be a good counter-balance to Ice Cube’s deadpan type character, but perhaps what is odd is that despite Ice Cube doing comedy films for longer than Hart has been a well-known name, he pretty much gets shadowed by Hart who consistently delivers from the start of the movie to the end. And what really drives Hart’s performance home is that he works so well with anyone who he is in a scene with, that he makes them better in the process.
However, though the film itself is funny, the story itself is very basic. Don’t expect anything which will set a new standard or make Ride Along stand out amongst the many buddy cop films made. James is as generic as they come and even his troubled childhood backstory sounds a bit like a cliché. But, to me, the worst thing about this movie is the build to Omar. Now, don’t get me wrong, Laurence Fishbourne makes a hell of a villain as Omar, but considering how mysterious Omar is setup and then he decides to not only show up to an arms deal, but then stick around after a warehouse blows up, and then other acts which require him to get his hands dirty, much less be visible, it is like they just changed the character in a snap and took him from this mysterious guy lurking in the shadows, to your generic villain trying to make the 10 o’clock news.
Overall: Worth Seeing
To me, Kevin Hart’s style of comedy is really what saves this film for it would be mediocre without him. I say this because it seemed like the script was following a checklist and made sure to check everything needed without trying to be innovative at all, or at least try to put a unique spin on the buddy cop Action/ comedy. But, despite a tried and true story, this is definitely worth seeing, if just because it further substantiates the argument that Kevin Hart truly maybe one of the few comedians to come out during the last decade who deserves to be amongst the names Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, in their prime, when it comes to a conversation about some of the greatest comedians.