Ben Barber (Kevin Hart), a fast-talking High School security guard and gaming addict, must prove to his future brother-in-law, APD Detective James Payton (Ice Cube), he is worthy of marrying James’ sister, Angela (Tika Sumpter). To do so, Ben joins James on what should be a routine patrol but soon turns into an actual case against a mysterious criminal who puts both their lives in danger.
Ride Along is the latest in a long line of comedian-turned-actor opposite rapper-turned-actor buddy films. This derivative buddy comedy is formulaic in nature with a predictable attempt at a twist that failed to catch the audience by surprise. While this is certainly indicative of the quality of the screenwriting, the unimaginative plot is forgivable given the genre of film. To fans of the buddy-comedy film genre, Ride Along will provide the required cheap laughs and substantial showdown, but if you’re looking for anything greater than that perhaps Ride Along isn’t the film for you.
Comedian Kevin Hart’s almost hyperactive spirit is, for the most part, Ride Along’s main source of energy. His fast-talking, loud-mouthed comedy and understanding of slapstick produces a few genuine laughs, which saves Ride Along from complete monotony. Without Hart, Ride Along would collapse into a pit of lacklustre action produced under the guise of “entertainment”. Unsurprisingly, Ice Cube offers no help in the entertainment department – the man has absolutely no personality at all, and his acting ability is cringe worthy. While Hart’s livewire presence is occasionally exhausting compared to Ice Cube’s vacuity, at least it’s obvious to the audience that Hart has a beating pulse. To be perfectly honest, I can’t help but feel for Hart; to be paired with someone as dull as Ice Cube in a film genre so readily dependent on strong comedic chemistry would have been soul crushing. The on-screen chemistry between the pair is so weak that most of Hart’s jokes feel completely blocked by Ice Cube, and as such Ride Along never really stood a chance.
Ultimately, Ride Along is yet another unoriginal buddy movie that fails to ever really launch itself from the ground. Yes, the plot is formulaic, but for a film genre steeped in caricature portrayals of good guy/bad guy the uninspiring storyline is to be expected and can be forgiven. You get what you pay for, after all. However, without chemistry between Hart and Ice Cube, Ride Along doesn’t offer much for its audience. Put simply, Ride Along is a forgettable film. Perhaps watching with a glass of wine or five would make it more memorable.
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