There’s a thin line sometimes between buddy cop movies and comedy cop movies. Usually it’s dependent on the amount of action and whether the majority of the time is spent trying to get laughs. When a film tries to tip toe on this line disaster can strike, especially when the movie isn’t funny in the first place.
Ride Along is a comedy movie with cops in it, but it desperately wants to be a buddy cop movie. Unfortunately what it is and what it wants to be don’t jive at all and everything just ends up in a crumpled mess. It’s also just not funny.
Director: Tim Story
Release Date: January 17, 2013
To not sound like the harsh film critic coming down on a stupid comedy, I will admit that parts of Ride Along can pull laughs. There’s enough functioning slapstick to be humorous and at points it seems like the writers decided to do something else than have Kevin Hart talk really loudly and Ice Cube glare a lot. These points are few and far between and when they do occur they just remind you how long its been since the film was actually funny.
What happens during these long dry spells of actual humor is something one might call a plot, but only by the loosest definition. Ben Barber (Hart) is dating James Peyton’s (Ice Cube) sister, and James does not like that one bit. In order to become a man and be worthy of James’ sister Ben enrolls in the police academy. In order to scare him off James decides to take him on a ride along for a day, putting him in life threatening situations while making a mockery of police work. Hilarious, right? However, while on the ride along a case James has been working on involving an infamous crime lord named Omar starts to unfold and Ben gets pulled in.
The movie is pretty much exactly what you expect it to be. Kevin Hart does Kevin Hart for a little under two hours and Ice Cube continues to pretend that he’s a legitimate actor. It would be fine if the comedy worked, but since most of the scenes are simply Hart doing something stupid the joke wears off really quickly. Hart’s character is also entirely unlikable, demonstrating levels of stupidity and naivety that are so unbelievable they ruin most of his jokes. When will we stop with the trope of a guy’s videogame skills helping him in the real world (Ben is a gamer), especially when the film doesn’t even do enough research to get the basics down. At one point Ben uses the term “noobie” instead of the correct “noob.”
This may sound like nitpicking, but when your two leads have about as much comic timing together as a log and a yak yelling at that rock everything is a glaring issue. Ice Cube and Hart can barely bounce anything off each other, and it makes the supposedly humorous dichotomy between the two worthless. This isn’t the charming coupling of the likes of Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, where the loudmouth actually played well off Chan’s charm because Ice Cube has no charm and Hart can barely maintain his character.
The lack of chemistry overwhelms the film’s nearly plotless plot. As if the plan to scare Ben away from being a police officer wasn’t dumb enough, the stories attempt at being creative only digs it deeper into facepalm territory. The end of the film rolls out as it completely ditches the comedy for sub-par action, desperately trying to veer away from the stupid comedy and into buddy cop, probably having realized that it didn’t have enough comedy gas to keep going in that direction.
Going on any longer about this is pointless and probably impossible since the movie itself doesn’t have enough substance to it to comment anymore. While you’re sure to pull a few laughs out of Ride Along thanks to Kevin Hart getting knocked around, it’s hard to actually call this a comedy — unless it’s a comedy of errors.