Ride Along

Ride Along

  • In spite of its flaws, Ride Along is just enough fun to maintain attention.
  • It is not a great film, not by any stretch. From the opening minutes, we know exactly what will happen, how the characters will come together, and, even, who the villains are. (Casting tells us that much.)
  • As problematically, Ride Along doesn’t develop complex characters to combat its predictability. James Payton (Ice Cube) is angry, protective and violent. Ben Barber (Kevin Hart) is optimistic, determined, a little naive and fearless. Brooks (Bruce McGill) is a confrontational police lieutenant.
  • And they are the best developed characters in the picture. Angela (Tika Sumpter), Santiago (John Leguizamo) and Miggs (Bryan Callen) are traitless.
  • Ice Cube’s performance does not help, either. He is as depthless as his character, flashing anger even when he’s meant to be vulnerable.
  • Kevin Hart is better, insofar as he’s funny, riffing on his own height, deliberately making his voice as screechy as he can, and so forth. But he finds no more depth that Ice Cube.
  • Even still, the film does not collapse.
  • Mostly because Hart, Director Tim Story and Writer Phil Hay enliven the picture with such frenetic energy and humor that it maintains interest. It is rapidly paced and always keeps the action at the forefront.
  • As well as the comedy. Much of this movie is laugh out loud funny.
  • Moreover, the director, Tim Story, is adept in action sequences, ensuring that we can follow the action, at the same time he crafts a silly tone. He realizes we anticipate James and Ben’s safety, so he doesn’t attempt suspense or tension. Instead, he builds humor and thereby ensures we want to see the unlikely partners escape.
  • Yet, Story extends the action too far, at one point having Ben be needlessly stupid, right before the villain appears. Ride Along is then bogged down by the scene’s consequences. As such, the movie is ten to fifteen minutes too long.
  • Underdeveloped characters, a formulaic plot and depthless performances hurt Ride Along, but manic energy and frequent humor keep it watchable. In the end, maybe that’s all it wants, anyway.
  • Final Grade: C-

11 thoughts on “Ride Along

  1. Well said James. This is precisely what I found with the film, although I perhaps scored it a touch higher because. . .well, pretty much for the same reasons you didn’t think the film collapsed. And, off the record. . .Tika Sumpter may have been ‘traitless’, but Christ is she easy on the eyes. That may have factored into my friendlier score! 😀

    • She is very attractive. And I think her performance is fine, as well. I just wish the filmmakers had given her character something beyond girlfriend/sister.

      But the flick is still fun and very watchable, mostly because Hart is a funny dude.

  2. I was considering watching this just for Hart. But I always decide to ignore it and watch something else. Cube, while a good rapper, is a one note actor. Always the angry dude! Cannot handle how generic this looks…

  3. I don’t suppose you have any desire to see About Last Night. I did watch it recently and was surprisingly entertained. It’s not great, mind you, but Kevin Hart makes it worthwhile.

    • I’m not in any real hurry to see About Last Night, but I’m also not going to avoid it. I like Kevin Hart enough. I suspect he can keep almost anything interesting.

      When or if I do see it, I’ll check out your review. 🙂

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