Movie Review – Ride Along (2014)

Director: Tim Story

Stars: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, John Leguizamo, Bruce McGill, Tika Sumpter, Bryan Callen

Ben (Hart) is a Platinum-level gamer who hopes to become a police officer one day. He’s in a loving relationship with Angela (Sumpter) but is holding off on a proposal until he feels he can support her properly. But when he finally feels ready and asks her brother, James, (Ice Cube) for his blessing, the detective takes Ben on a ride along in the hope that he’ll realize he’s not cut out for the life of a cop. However, they inadvertently get mixed up in a case that James has been working on for a while, and Ben finally has a chance to prove himself worthy.

I usually enjoy Kevin Hart and Ice Cube has proved adept at performing gruff characters in the Jump Street movies. You’d think it would be an ideal pairing but despite the energy Hart puts into the role there’s a spark lacking. It doesn’t quite gel and it doesn’t bring anything new to the buddy-cop genre. The first half of the film deals with Ben being put into awkward situations while James sniggers in the background, but these mostly come over as awkward rather than humourous. Once the plot kicks in the film livens up, but it’s too little too late and the course is predictable. Even though it’s a new film it does feel like something I had seen a hundred times before.

It also suffers from a common problem in that Angela is less of a character and more of a plot point. She never really does anything to advance the story and is there purely as the focus of the conflict between the two male leads.

I did leave off one cast member because his appearance was a surprise, at least to me, so if you are actually inclined to watch Ride Along then at least you’ll have that to look forward to, although it doesn’t make up for the rest of this forgettable film. There’s even a quasi-hint at a deeper plot beyond the one we’re presented but it’s never developed so I can’t even call it sequel-bait. There aren’t many surprises contained within the film but it doesn’t make up for it with strong character work. The jokes feel played out and there’s just nothing fresh about it at all.

Ride Along is a one-note comedy with smatterings of amusement but there’s nothing to elevate it beyond an average level, and even that’s a stretch. The best moments are in the trailer so I can’t recommend this one at all. If you like buddy cop movies there are plenty more to choose from, and there’s nothing about this film that does anything differently.

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