Film Review: “Ride Along”

Film Review: Ride Along

MOVIE_ridealong

“Ride Along” is a weak entry into the buddy cop genre, sunk by Ice Cube’s chilly lack of emotion

Rating 2/5
Directed by Tim Story
Starring Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Laurence Fishburne
Rated PG-13
Release Date Jan.17

Ah, the buddy cop movie. As hackneyed and overdone as this recipe for churning out movies goes, the buddy cop movie has remained an industry favorite, with movies such as “The Other Guys” and “Hot Fuzz” proving that the cash cow has yet to be milked dry. A good buddy cop movie is a combination of the action and humor, the chemistry and chaos, as well as the blue-collar values and white-collar crime that we expect from Hollywood’s features.

But for every hit, like “Lethal Weapon” or “Training Day,” there are exponentially more failures, like “Cop Out,” “Tango and Cash” or this year’s “Ride Along.” “Ride Along” is a typecast, predictable feature created from a paint-by-numbers script and with phoned-in performances by the two lead actors, Kevin Hart and rapper turned actor, Ice Cube.

“Ride Along” tells the story of Ben Barber (Kevin Hart), a loser school security guard addicted to first-person shooters and who has inexplicably scored an amazing, beautiful woman despite his utter ineptitude. In order to marry her, Ben must first gain the approval of her tough cop brother James Payton (Ice Cube) by proving his worth and manliness on a “ride along” mission.

As impressive and admirable as Kevin Hart’s transition from a stand-up comedian into an actor has been, his choice of movies and acting decisions has been unfortunate. His standard portrayal as an effeminate, screaming, high-energy jokester has started to grate on many an audience member’s nerves. His performance in “Ride Along” is no different; he jumps with boundless energy and disorienting speed from one cheap gag to the next: He’s taunted by an elementary schooler, and he talks nonsense while high on morphine.

All of Hart’s jokes are executed with an empty hope that someone somewhere in the audience might decide to humor him with a sympathy laugh.

His partner-in-crime is played by the ever-ebullient Ice Cube (“Are We There Yet?”), who attempts to be the tough guy of the buddy cop duo as he continues his less-than-illustrious acting career. Unbeknownst to many a Hollywood actor looking to phone-in a performance for an easy paycheck, the role of the tough partner in a buddy cop movie requires on-the-spot, deadpan humor and powerful presence.

Ice Cube makes a weak attempt at accomplishing this by holding the same, annoyed facial expression throughout the majority of the film, only breaking his grimace to make various, pained attempts at emoting.

As expected, “Ride Along” is truly nothing special. Even if the movie itself spawns an occasional chuckle or two, the amount of laughs is closer to the amount in a five-second YouTube video or a GIF. Skip the trip to the theater; you’ll find more laughs at home.

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