Review: ‘Ride Along’ is another film that assumes Kevin Hart will save it

Ice Cube is totally dismayed by Kevin Hart's exuberance in "Ride Along." Credit: Quantrell Colbert
Ice Cube is totally dismayed by Kevin Hart’s exuberance in “Ride Along.”
Credit: Quantrell Colbert

‘Ride Along’
Director: Tim Story
Stars: Kevin Hart, Ice Cube
Rating: PG-13
2 (out of 5) Globes

Kevin Hart’s star has risen quickly and sharply, so it’s understandable that film execs have rushed to put him in something, anything, and as many things as possible while he’s still fresh. But it would be nice if the movies gave him something more to do. Like “Grudge Match,” “Ride Along” seems to have been designed with the assumption that, with cameras rolling, Hart will do something, and whatever it is will be gold. He is funny, and he has an original presence: He’s a confident motormouth with massive insecurity problems. Most of the other characters mock his height, or lack of it. But Hart’s problems run deeper, and he’s usually the one to draw attention to that fact that, intense bluster aside, he’s really a scaredy-cat who wusses out the moment the heat is turned up.

“Ride Along” is so lazy that it usually forgets to exploit this running gag. A routine mismatched buddy picture, it pairs him with Ice Cube, who once again plays the law despite having made his name calling it out for its ills. The former N.W.A. member is the kind of hotshot detective who gets results (read: causes a lot of expensive damage while pursuing perps not exactly worth it). He’s on the case of an arms dealer (played by a surprise star whose name is still in the credits), but finds himself distracted by something worse: His sister is about to marry Kevin Hart.

Hart’s character is a rent-a-cop who wants to be a real one. Through video games, he’s erected a self-image as a badass, one whose idea of law enforcement comes from the movies. A wittier film would play more with this fantasy running smack into boring reality. “Ride Along” isn’t very witty, and so he just spends a day hanging with Cube, who wants to torture him a la Denzel Washington in “Training Day” — a parallel the characters naturally note, albeit well after the audience has noted it.

“Ride Along,” admittedly, has its moments, largely because it relies on Hart, and to a lesser extent Cube. The most charitable thing you can say about “Are We There Yet?” and its offspring is it was hilarious that the guy who once recorded a track called “If I Was F—in’ You” would be in family fare at all. But his weariness with his co-star — which inevitably evolves into reluctant respect — grows old. And there’s so little going on that “Ride Along” basically becomes the sight of Hart trying with all of his might and energy to make it watchable. It’s an ensemble farce that becomes a one-man show, albeit one where the star has to stick to the confines of a rote action-comedy and not allow his material to roam free.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.