'Ride Along' offers big laughs
"Ride Along" is destined to be written off by most as a standard generic and formulaic police buddy action comedy. This is an understandable, but mistaken judgment. "Ride Along" does not reinvent the police buddy comedy film by any means. It has original ideas and interesting dynamics, but there is nothing that people who have ever seen a movie before cannot predict or see coming. However, as is the case in most movies, the casting makes a huge difference. Funnyman Kevin Hart gives the high energy performance we have come to expect from him, while Ice Cube plays off of him as his polar opposite. The chemistry between the two is perfect for their constant head-butting between the two.
Kevin Hart plays Ben, a high school "rent-a-cop" who just got accepted into the police academy. He wants to marry his girlfriend who loves him dearly, but first he must win the approval of her brother, James. Ice Cube plays the brother who is your standard tough guy cop. He works alone mostly and besides his sister he doesn't really care for other people on any significant level. He disapproves of Ben as he does not feel he can protect his sister or provide for her. When Ben is accepted into the police academy he expects James to be proud of him. Ben does not believe he is worthy of being a police officer - or dating his sister. James tells Ben to join him on a ride along through the streets of Atlanta in order to prove to him he is capable of being "a real man." James plans to give him both staged and real annoying incidents that no cop wants to deal with, but finds a break in the case of the major criminal he has been hunting for some time and the two have to do some real police work as well as deal with nonsense.
Hart has been emerging as a big name in comedy recently. While Hart's clear strength is standup, his film roles are just as entertaining. He brings a high level of energy and a lot of improvisation into the role that blend together for a lot of big laughs. Ice Cube has always been an underrated dramatic actor. He recently had another comedic role in "21 Jump Street" as a loud, vulgar and angry police chief. Cube's personality worked well there in a comedic role and it certainly works in 'Ride Along' as well matched up against his polar opposite in Hart.
We have all seen movies like this before. The only thing that makes "Ride Along" exceptional on some level is that it is really funny and entertaining. It is by no means the funniest movie you will ever see or even the best of this kind of movie, but it surely won't not disappoint. "Ride Along" reminds me of an incredibly similar film from the 90's called "The Hard Way." In that film we had James Woods playing the tough guy cop while Michael J. Fox played a big name actor assigned to him in order to study for a role. The chemistry between the two was almost the exact same we see between Ice Cube and Hart. I personally enjoyed "The Hard Way" more as it not only was funny, but had a somewhat more original story. However, "Ride Along" might just be funnier, and in the middle of January, when we see typically see only trash released, big laughs are more than enough to keep me happy.
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