Ride Along review
Ice Cub and Kevin Hart in a buddy cop comedy movie. If that premise right there doesn't hook you in for a good comedy, I don't now what will. The buddy cop formula is one of comedy's most common tricks, and it has been for decades. So when one can come along and make you genuinely laugh, that is impressive. We may have had a rousing success in Sandra Bullock's The Heat last year, but now it's time for The Heat to cool down and pass the torch.
We open the film with an introduction to James Payton, played by Ice Cube, a tough Atlanta detective who is on a case to catch a notorious crime boss named Omar. James has been on the case for 3 years and has hardly gotten any closer to capturing him. Meanwhile, James' sister, Angela is dating Ben Barber, played by Kevin Hart. Ben is a school security guard at a high school, with aspirations of being a real Atlanta cop. That is, when he isn't absorbed into his video games as "Black Hammer." Ben catches a big break and is accepted to the police academy. He approaches James to tell him the news and ask for James' blessing for marrying Angela. James has never liked Ben because he is a weak man, but tries to scare Ben off. James tells him he is going to take him on a ride along the next day to see if Ben is truly a man worth his sister. The rest of the film takes place during this one day of a ride along, where many crazy things happen, involving bikers, a kid with issues and "Crazy Cody."
The strength of the film comes from our 2 main characters, mainly Hart. Ice Cube is an entertaining character, don't get me wrong, but Cube is basically playing Ice Cube with a badge. That's not a horrible thing, he does get into the character well, but his personality is not that different from just, Ice Cube. The same can sort of be said for Hart, but you can tell he is playing a role. I really liked Ben, he was confident in his aspects to be a cop, he is obviously successful if he got into the police academy with no problem, yet he is a bit of a dweeb, but always plays it off. Also, his bits with his video game were quite funny. Hart is a very animated comedian with a lot of energy and that pays off for his role as Ben. The 2 actors together have a good mix for the buddy cop formula. Yes, there is the confrontation where Ben's true feelings come into play, and the 2 main characters have problems, but it naturally resolves itself quickly and it isn't dragged out. Plus, Cube's reasons are understandable, I don't agree with him, but I completely understand where he is coming from, he isn't just a jerk or an elitist.
That's one of the things I feel that puts this movie above other buddy movies like The Heat. The 2 leads feel genuine and entertaining, and you do like both of them, and their personalities aren't so cut and dry. These are fun characters. Plus, the supporting cast is also fun. Angela is a very likeable romantic interest character, she has her funny moments, she has some depth, and she isn't just there for Ben's attention. The other cops are funny, the Chief is ok. The villain, is a funny reveal, I'm not going to lie.
There are also a few decent action scenes as well. Few and far between, but this is a comedy, so that is understandable. The story is also pretty good. Granted, several elements that are predictable, but it's to be expected with this formula. However, the movie was funny and entertaining enough that it doesn't show as much. The pacing is good, the humor is good, my favorite bits of humor are Hart's animated reactions to situations.
On the other hand, yyyyyyyyea the buddy cop formula is tried and true. We have seen it hundreds of times, and Ride Along, while a lot of fun, does not shake up the formula a lot, it just uses it well. So yes, I would like to see a little innovation, but for what we got, and as predictable as it was, it was fun. Plus, the supporting cast is not as strong as the leads. Hart steals the show and Cube does a good job, but the supporting cast aside from Angela are just, ok. That's not bad because they aren't the focus, but still.
Overall, I really liked Ride Along. It was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed the lead characters. While the buddy cop formula is pretty old as far as innovation, This film is entertaining enough to enjoy the ride. If you are a fan of either comedian or buddy cop movies, or comedies in general, Ride Along is definitely worth a watch.
I give Ride Along, 4 Black Hammers out of 5
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