Once or twice a year, another buddy-cop movie will come along where two unlikely partners are paired up to take out the world’s most dastardly criminals. Very few of these are worth watching, and most are almost instantly forgettable. With the PG-13 ‘Ride Along’, the latter is unfortunately the ultimate result.
It makes sense that Tim Story directed this, since he made ‘Barbershop’ and the recent ‘Think Like a Man’, which both Kevin Hart and Ice Cube starred in.
There isn’t one thing in this movie that hasn’t been seen, heard or done a thousand times before. The characters are one-note and predictable. Even when a supposed twist comes into play, you can see it coming from miles away. The movie doesn’t have any suspense, let alone any blood, guts or cursing. The actors are forced to tone down the adult humor they’re famous for, and making this supposed action movie dial down its violence is a big misstep. However, it’s nice to see Hart carry a film, even if he’s over-the-top all the way through it. If nothing else, this proves that Hart can be a leading man, not the sidekick he usually plays, and he’s best thing about the picture.
It’s a story you’ve heard before. Ben Barber (Hart) is a funny and sweet guy who’s been accepted into the police academy in Atlanta. He happens to be dating the beautiful Angela (Tika Sumpter), whose brother James (Ice Cube) seems to hate everyone and everything, and is only concerned about catching bad guys by himself. Ben desperately wants James’ approval, and James say that he’ll give it if Ben agrees to ride along with him for a day in the big bad police world. If you’ve seen the trailers, then you’ve seen most of the movie, in which Hart gets himself into some ridiculous situations and Ice Cube has to bail him out over and over.
The paint-by-numbers script and its unsurprising characters bring down the entertainment value in what could have been a much better film, or at least something much more fun. Cameos by John Leguizamo and Laurence Fishburne are completely underused, and the other supporting roles don’t really offer anything other than stereotypes. The movie has a few laughs here and there, but nothing memorable. If the stars and the filmmakers want to set this up for sequels, they have some serious re-sketching to do.