It’s awards season; and if there was ever a movie to win for “Most Typecast Main Characters,” it would be Ride Along. Kevin Hart stars as a somewhat complacent, video game obsessed, high school security guard with mannerisms straight from his stand-up comedy routine, while Ice Cube plays an angry black Atlanta P.D. officer with trust issues. They’re very fitting roles, and typecast or not, it seems to work pretty well. Why? Because Kevin Hart is hilarious. Ride Along is a lot of things: outrageously funny at times, somewhat boring and totally predictable at others, but at its core, it’s an exciting cop comedy that will entertain its target demographic and maybe a few others.
James Payton (Mr. Cube) is a cocky loner of a cop, and above all else, he is always out to protect his baby sister (Tika Sumpter)…especially from her boyfriend Ben Barbert (Hart). Although Barber has applied to the police academy, he’s still a lazy dude that requires constant motivation from his sugar mama. I’m assuming she’s his sugar mama because there’s no way they could afford such a nice loft on security guard pay. Regardless, when Ben wants to take their relationship to the next level, he’s got to ask James for his blessing, since the Payton’s parents died when they were young. Do you see it coming yet? …
You guessed it. Since Barber is such an aspiring police officer, it’s time for a ride along with James to prove himself worthy. Clever. So, Ride Along follows a full day of awkward, typically annoying, situations for a police officer – the type of situational comedy that is totally fitting for Kevin Hart… like getting into a fight and running away from a four year old, getting blown away at the gun range (pun intended), and going toe-to-toe with a biker gang (you’ve seen the previews I’m sure). While James just wants to break down and dishearten Ben from being a police officer, Ben keeps rising up to the occasion, and buddy comedy is born. One that would be completely unbearable if it weren’t for Kevin Hart.
The fact that this screenplay could have been written by a fifth grader, yet it took for grown-ass men to do it, shouldn’t take away from the fact that I was laughing nearly the entire time, but it still kind of does. Even though my abs hurt at the end of Ride Along, it still felt like something was missing. The two leads…and a very attractive Tika Sumpter…did a bang up job with their roles in this movie, but it feels like there was potential for something more. If you really like Kevin Hart’s comedy, then shell out the cash to go see Ride Along in theaters…if not, save your money and wait ’til it comes to Red Box.