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Originally published Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 12:07 AM

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‘Ride Along’: Someone stop this genre, I want to get off

A two-star review of “Ride Along,” a cop buddy action comedy that cruises through too much familiar territory. The appealing Kevin Hart and Ice Cube star.

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie Review 2 stars

‘Ride Along,’ with Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, John Leguizamo, Tika Sumpter, Bruce McGill, Bryan Callen, Laurence Fishburne. Directed by Tim Story, from a screenplay by Greg Coolidge, Jason Mantzoukas, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. 100 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, sexual content and brief strong language. Several theaters.

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“Ride Along,” the cop buddy action comedy starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, feels oddly familiar; it’s not just that you feel like you’ve seen it before, but that you’ve sat through it a number of times. Maybe it’s the genre: What more is left to do with cop buddy action comedies, other than car chases and nasty crimelords and two guys wisecracking in the front seat of a police vehicle? I’d have given all my popcorn for something unexpected, like a song-and-dance number, but “Ride Along” just plods along, not terrible but never particularly engaging.

What energy it does have comes from motor-mouthed comedian Kevin Hart, who has a knack for making a slackly written line sing. Hart plays Ben, a security guard and video-game addict who’s desperate to impress James (Ice Cube), the tough-cop brother of Ben’s longtime girlfriend Angela (Tika Sumpter). James, who’d like to swat Ben away like a tiresome fly, invites him for a “ride along” in a cop car for a day, reasoning that this might scare Ben away from his aspirations of someday joining the force. Instead — you guessed it — Ben gets them entangled with a notorious criminal, with only fast talk (and some guns) to get them out of it.

And yes, there are car chases, and a lot of yelling, and a visit to a strip club (why do all cop movies include visits to strip clubs?), and a very nicely dry delivery, by Ice Cube, of the immortal line “Thank you, Ass-Face.” (For reasons I cannot entirely explain, this line made me laugh more than anything else in the movie.) That’s not quite enough to hang a movie on, but at least it was unexpected.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or

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