Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ride Along (2014)

JohnnyTwoToes cant find any redeeming qualities in this insipid buddy cop comedy!

Ride Along was a hit with viewers and for the life of me I don't see why. It has its few, scant moments and the two leads, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart are engaging chemistry but Ride Along is so inept and run of the mill it ends up being a mess of a movie. 

Kevin Hart is Ben, a security guard at the local high school who dreams of being an Atlanta police officer. He is living with Angela (Tika Sumpter) and is getting ready to propose to her. Enter James Payton (Ice Cube) , an Atlanta police officer who happens to be Angela's brother and her only family. "Prove you are worthy to be with her," James tells Ben. "How?" Ben asks. "Ride Along," James quips with a smile on his face, and here is our movie.     
Ride Along has an unusually simple but interesting premise and there could have been tons of material to make it exciting and original, but sadly this film is a tired retread of tired retreads. There is not ONE thing that happens in Ride Along that you won't see coming. NOT ONE. This is unbelievable since the film has four...that's heard me...FOUR scriptwriters and there is not one original moment in Ride Along. How does THAT happen? Did the filmmakers think they were going to coast on man chemistry alone between the lead pair ? 

Hart is no doubt a likable and funny star. He reminds me of what I saw in Eddie Murphy when he busted on through with Beverly Hills Cop. Undeniably, Hart and Ice Cube are both solid in this film. I have always maintained Ice Cube is a good actor and he does well in Ride Along, too. But the rest of the cast, although they are competent enough, their characters are so one dimensional that they only slow an already insipid plot. But when you have such electrifying performers like John Leguizamo, Bruce McGill, Bryan Callen and a rather miscasted Laurence Fishburne, why waste them on a cheap dime store plot? Of course, the lead cop is always investigating a case that has him at odds with his CO and Ride Along, in predictable fashion, is no different. Something about running guns or illegal passports....I could not have cared less. Trust me, you won't care, either. 

Tim Story who has worked with both Hart and Ice Cube on other films fails MISERABLY with Ride Along. Story who was responsible for garbage like the Fantastic Four films also directed vibrantly funny and observant films like Barbershop (with Ice Cube) and Think Like A Man (with Kevin Hart). So he knows what is needed to make a funny film with an eye and an ear on how people talk to each other. With Ride Along, he makes a witless, pointless romp, derivative of better films like Lethal Weapon with about half of the smarts and almost zero of humor. The climax of the film seems to be directly lifted from Analyze This only Ride Along's version is not funny and seems to drag on FOREVER. 

I really wanted to like Ride Along. Its two leads have lots to say and do but nothing works despite their presence and a few brief.....BRIEF smiles that might cross your lips. Ride Along is just dumb and uninteresting from start to finish. Since it WAS a hit at the box office romping over $153 million against a budget of $25 million, there is a sequel planned for release in 2016. I hope and pray to God, they do a better job in that film. Bring back Hart and Ice Cube but, next time around, give them something to do! Do I even need to say this is one of the year's most disappointing films? Ride Along-* out of 4


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