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Review: Ride Along

Jan. 16, 2014by: Eric Walkuski

PLOT: A straight-laced cop decides to take his future brother-in-law, an over-confidant security guard, on an intentionally hectic ride along in the hopes he'll dissuade him from marrying his sister and joining the police force.

REVIEW: RIDE ALONG was my first prolonged exposure to Kevin Hart. I'm familiar with his popularity as a stand-up comedian, which is significant enough that the GRUDGE MATCH marketing department thought he was the most bankable thing about that particular film, but up until now his appeals have been unknown to me. After seeing RIDE ALONG, which positions him to be a breakout star, I must admit that his appeal is still pretty much up in the air. That is to say, he surely has the potential to be funny - he's in possession of some charisma and is clearly comfortable doing whatever it takes for a laugh in front of the camera - but the movie's material is so well-worn, and the schticks given to Hart so quickly tiresome, that he often seems like he's trying to get blood from a stone. No matter how much he jerks and screeches, he's not improving the film's lack of genuine humor.

The story is one we've seen plenty of times, a buddy-cop movie about two mismatched partners who bicker intensely but ultimately respect each other. On one hand you have Ice Cube playing James Payton, a take-no-shit cop on the hunt for a mysterious drug kingpin named Omar. (How weird is it seeing the former NWA rapper playing an honorable cop?) On the other, you have Hart as Ben Barber, a school security guard who desperately wants to join the police academy; this desire even more intense considering he's dating Payton's beautiful sister, Angela (Tika Sumpter). Payton can't stand the fact that his baby sister is dating the spazzed-out Ben, mostly because of a barbecue accident years ago that apparently left the former engulfed in flames, and he certainly doesn't think Ben has what it takes to join the force, so Payton endeavors to squash both passions by taking him on a ride along filled with turmoil and chaos. Of course, Payton does not count on Ben's surprising resourcefulness and helpful knowledge of large caliber guns (he's an avid gamer) to help in his quest to bring down Atlanta's biggest crime boss.

So it's essentially 48 HRS. meets TRAINING DAY, without the grit, guts or swagger of either. (TRAINING DAY in particular receives several shout-outs, including a sequence where Hart basically recites the monologue from Denzel Washington's climatic scene.) It gets repetitive fast; RIDE ALONG's many tangents, involve a stopover at a playground, a shooting range, and a strip club, and they're all designed exactly the same way: Ben struts in, exudes unreasonable confidence, then quickly falls to pieces as the situation escalates. Often the comedian just starts screaming; how many times are we supposed to slap our knee as Ben whines and cries after guns start blazing and he's forced to cower? He certainly seems capable of more than just buffoonery, but RIDE ALONG rarely gifts him with anything challenging.

Is it a complete slog? There are a handful of moments that provoked a chuckle from me - I thought it was strangely funny that Ben claims his father's name was "Asphalt" for some reason - but more often than not director Tim Story obviously allows scenes to go on past their expiration date in the hopes Hart will deliver a big laugh. Cube and Hart manage to cobble together some chemistry, but that's mostly thanks to the fact that Cube is a perfect straight-man, his facial expressions ranging from baffled to irritated to downright hateful, while Hart flops around him like an overly caffeinated child eager to please by any means necessary.

Furthermore, how many different ways can he be called short? A lot of different ways. Yes, Hart is certainly on the diminutive side, but I just started to feel bad for him after a while. Still, I suspect Hart's considerable fan base will find enough here to like if they're apt to give him the benefit of the doubt - I'll admit the audience I sat with appeared to enjoy every scene, so what the hell do I know?

Source: JoBlo.com

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11:22AM on 02/15/2014
Um, Ice Cube playing a cop is weird?? I take it you didnt see 21 Jumpstreet or All about the Benjamins (yes he was a bounty hunter but thats still law-enforcement)
Um, Ice Cube playing a cop is weird?? I take it you didnt see 21 Jumpstreet or All about the Benjamins (yes he was a bounty hunter but thats still law-enforcement)
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-1
2:44PM on 01/17/2014
Kevin Hart was at his best in Scary Movie 3. That's it.
Kevin Hart was at his best in Scary Movie 3. That's it.
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12:02AM on 01/17/2014

not surprised

The story and concept look like shit, doesn't matter if this film starred Will Ferrell and The Rock, it's doomed to fail.
The story and concept look like shit, doesn't matter if this film starred Will Ferrell and The Rock, it's doomed to fail.
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10:41AM on 01/17/2014
If it starred Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, and was the exact same movie, it would be a totally different reaction. I laughed as much during Ride Along as I did during This Is the End.
If it starred Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, and was the exact same movie, it would be a totally different reaction. I laughed as much during Ride Along as I did during This Is the End.
4:22PM on 01/16/2014

Will wait for the redbox

I will wait for the redbox. I'm going positive on this though because I'm seeing too much red and I feel if this had been done maybe with a more adult audience in mind ala All About the Benjamins it would hit the mark better. It looks okay. I wonder if any of the people shitting on Kevin Hart have actually seen any of the comics specials? Not trying to fire shots, but the man is FUNNY and it shows he's got a knack for comedy and can make people laugh, though as it was said, it may not be
I will wait for the redbox. I'm going positive on this though because I'm seeing too much red and I feel if this had been done maybe with a more adult audience in mind ala All About the Benjamins it would hit the mark better. It looks okay. I wonder if any of the people shitting on Kevin Hart have actually seen any of the comics specials? Not trying to fire shots, but the man is FUNNY and it shows he's got a knack for comedy and can make people laugh, though as it was said, it may not be something that can translate to film. I feel people think people may relate him to more urban comics like Katt Williams or Mike Epps who he is not like at all. I highly suggest people watch his specials if you haven't seen them.

As for who is Kevin Hart? Well he's probably the biggest comedian of the last 5 years next to Louis C.K.

Now I usually don't like posting links and I'm wary to clicks links because I usually just don't feel like watching a video but trust me. Skip to the 6:30 part of this video and watch. This is probably one of my favorite bits of his. [link] Give the man a chance if ya haven't seen him people.
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+2
2:03PM on 01/16/2014
I liked this a lot more than critics seem to. The stars have great chemistry and the 100 minutes go by quickly. Hart is pretty hilarious. I guess how you feel about him is likely to determine how you feel about the movie. I like him. He has good timing and delivery, and his reactions to Cube's glowering and insults are great. I had low expectations and found myself laughing a lot and enjoying myself.
I liked this a lot more than critics seem to. The stars have great chemistry and the 100 minutes go by quickly. Hart is pretty hilarious. I guess how you feel about him is likely to determine how you feel about the movie. I like him. He has good timing and delivery, and his reactions to Cube's glowering and insults are great. I had low expectations and found myself laughing a lot and enjoying myself.
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-11
1:28PM on 01/16/2014
Who told Kevin Heart he was funny?
Who told Kevin Heart he was funny?
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1:30PM on 01/16/2014
HART...... Damn auto spell shit!!
HART...... Damn auto spell shit!!
12:26PM on 01/16/2014
Kevin Heart just needs to go away already.
Kevin Heart just needs to go away already.
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11:30AM on 01/16/2014
This movie got 1 score higher than The Nut Job. Not sure if that's a good sign.
This movie got 1 score higher than The Nut Job. Not sure if that's a good sign.
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11:21AM on 01/16/2014

Hart can do better

He's almost subtle in Death At A Funeral. His problem is that he's in Chris Farley mode. He figured out how to get the biggest, quickest laughs and he's sticking to that formula so long as the check keeps coming. He's about to oversaturate his market in 2014, so watch for his popularity to dwindle as fast as it rose, while he manages to pocket around $3-6MM per over the course of about 10 movies.
He's almost subtle in Death At A Funeral. His problem is that he's in Chris Farley mode. He figured out how to get the biggest, quickest laughs and he's sticking to that formula so long as the check keeps coming. He's about to oversaturate his market in 2014, so watch for his popularity to dwindle as fast as it rose, while he manages to pocket around $3-6MM per over the course of about 10 movies.
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10:58AM on 01/16/2014
When I saw the pic up top (and before reading the text), I honestly thought, "Oh, Ice Cube's working with Chris Tucker again."

And yeah, it's hilarious seeing the guy who once rapped 'F**k tha Police' playing a cop.
When I saw the pic up top (and before reading the text), I honestly thought, "Oh, Ice Cube's working with Chris Tucker again."

And yeah, it's hilarious seeing the guy who once rapped 'F**k tha Police' playing a cop.
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+4
10:56AM on 01/16/2014
This looked bad from the beginning. I feel like Hart is that comedian who just isn't cut out for film. He's hilarious on stage as a stand up, but as an actor, his shtick tests patience. This was going to be a stinker anyway, but this will do well with audiences, I can already tell. Despite how terrible it may be, people are going to eat this up with a spoon.
This looked bad from the beginning. I feel like Hart is that comedian who just isn't cut out for film. He's hilarious on stage as a stand up, but as an actor, his shtick tests patience. This was going to be a stinker anyway, but this will do well with audiences, I can already tell. Despite how terrible it may be, people are going to eat this up with a spoon.
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10:55AM on 01/16/2014
Is there anyone who thought this would work?
Is there anyone who thought this would work?
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10:15AM on 01/16/2014
I love Ice Cube, as a hip hop artist and as an actor, but why does he do so many bad movies? Oh, well. No familiarity with Kevin Hart, and as I'll be skipping Ride Along, I guess that won't change any time soon. Maybe I'll check out his stand up.
I love Ice Cube, as a hip hop artist and as an actor, but why does he do so many bad movies? Oh, well. No familiarity with Kevin Hart, and as I'll be skipping Ride Along, I guess that won't change any time soon. Maybe I'll check out his stand up.
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