Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, John Leguizamo, Bruce McGill, Tika Sumpter, Bryan Callen, Laurence Fishburne, Dragos Bucur, Gary Owen,
Running Time: 99 minutes
Searching approval from the family of significant others; oh how this simple idea has spawned multiple comedies. Whether it be the more traditional approach of meeting the parents, or a film such as RIDE ALONG that looks at gaining the blessing of over protective siblings, it’s something that we believe we can all relate to, while still exaggerating events for comedic effect. Unfortunately, as demonstrated here, the ideas and execution are becoming tired, even when pairing it with an equally rundown genre of the buddy cop variety.
Kevin Hart plays Ben Barber, a young school security guard who has just been accepted into the police academy. With this news he intends to propose to his girlfriend, Angela (Sumpter), but must first win the approval of her no nonsense and overprotective brother, James (Cube). To win James over, Ben agrees to go on a ride along to prove his worth as a brother-in-law. If this sounds like it could have been the comedy version of TRAINING DAY, then it could have been, but the lazy writing would rather acknowledge that outright with constant references to the superior film, including word for word recreations of dialogue.
The unoriginality is forever present in every aspect of the film, with James calling upon the services of cranks and hoaxes which Ben soon uncovers and foolishly believes that an actual dangerous situation is another one of the fake-outs. You see the majority of jokes and twists coming, failing as a comedy and an action crime thriller. Ben’s knowledge of artillery from his many hours on his videogame system is painfully foreshadowed, and if you are wondering why big actors are given thankless roles your brain will soon connect the dots. Even the film’s big reveal is lessened by the mention of a big star in the opening credits. This is a shame, because when the film is at its silliest is when the laughs truly succeed.
With neither the relationship between brother and sister nor boyfriend and girlfriend resonating, it makes the struggles for Ben and James less engaging. Separate the romantic comedy aspects from the action and you have two very mediocre films, pair them together and you have two very mediocre films that have no time to breathe nor develop. Hart and Cube have both proved themselves in comedy with the right material, but here they are simply caged in by an uninspired script.
[usr=2]RIDE ALONG is released on DVD and Blu-ray on 30th June.