Hardened cop James (Ice Cube – Three Kings) reluctantly takes his soon to be brother-in-law Ben (Kevin Hart – Let Me Explain) on a ride along to scare him off from becoming a police officer. James has never liked his sister’s boyfriend finding him immature and unsuitable. Ben on the other hand looks up to James and sees him as a role model, especially now that he has successfully enrolled at the Police academy. But James’ intention to frighten off Ben soon dissolves as the two uncover an illegal crime syndicate that unwittingly brings the polar opposites together.
Ride Along is a decent enough comedy that tries to reignite Hollywood’s love affair with the buddy cop genre. Hollywood has never managed to reach the highs of 1995’s Bad Boys – a pretty much near-perfect action comedy starring Martin Lawrence and Will Smith. At least Ride Along is a step in the right direction – but there’s still plenty of work to be done before we’ll get another classic like that on our hands.
Ice Cube is always reliable as the straight action guy and he handles the role with his usual cool attitude. Kevin Hart is now starting to hit the big time overseas. His star has already risen in the States so it’s nice to see Hart finally leading big movies with mass appeal. Together, their comedy is organic and works well. The bickering rapport between the leads is frequently funny but at times they make Ben out to be too much of a zany character, which ultimately affects the believability of the story. As crazy as Lawrence and Smith were in Bad Boys, you never doubted for a second that they were cops.
The supporting cast are ok with Tika Sumpter doing well as James’ sister and Ben’s love interest. It may not be a demanding role but she dutifully obliges as the required eye-candy. John Leguizamo and Bruce McGill lend some solid support too and it’s always fun to see Laurence Fishburne onscreen. Without giving too much away, I think there are some characters that instantly raise suspicions regarding key plot points. This affects the predictability of the script so a few of the supporting actors get a rough deal.
Ice Cube and Kevin Hart team up well and there are good jokes to be found. But ultimately this is a forgettable but enjoyable caper that should have tried less to make Ben out as a buffoon and instead focus more on the action. With a sequel already green-lit, let’s hope a second Ride Along fares better and aims higher.