‘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
‘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.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org