Ever since he accidentally burned his future brother in law at a barbecue, Ben (Kevin Hart) has known that James (Ice Cube) has little affection for him. When he is accepted into the Police Academy, in order to win James’s trust – and the confidence to propose to Angela (Tika Sumpter) – Ben asks to go on a police ride along with James. Of course, the day does not run as smoothly as planned.
Ride Along is not really much in terms of a film, in fact, it is pointed out several times that it is a comic version of Training Day and, in as much as that film was far less than perfect, so is this one. Fans of the fast talking, wise cracking Kevin Hart will doubtless be delighted at his casting in the film, and those who have a lot of time for Ice Cube will surely appreciate his stern and mildly entertaining cop persona.
John Leguizamo turns up as police officer Santiago, and has some nice comedic interactions with fellow officer Miggs, played by Bryan Callen, but they sometimes feel like the token other characters, as this is a story all about Hart and Cube.
In terms of story, Greg Coolidge, Jason Mantzoukas, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi’s screenplay feels like nothing particularly new, and the film relies so heavily on Hart’s motor mouth that when he finally shuts up, there is little that is entertaining about the film… Not that there was much to begin with. The story winds to such an inevitable and predictable conclusion as to be almost insulting, and the jokes mostly revolve around Hart screeching or getting beaten up, which hardly comprises comedy, let alone wit.
Director Tim Story seems to have phoned in his job from home, as it feels like he gave single word motivations to each of his lead actors; ‘screechy’ and ‘stern’. There are some moments of fun, but Ride Along ends up feeling like the pairing between Shrek and Donkey, only it’s not funny… Not funny at all.
Ride Along tries to be the comedic version of Training Day and in some ways, it succeeds; the characters are one note and difficult to relate to, and the story is so predictable as to be laughable. Ice Cube and Hart do their best, but without any true motivation or fleshed out characters, they are doomed to fail.