Ride Along
Director: Tim Story
Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Tika Sumpter
99 mins; Class 12; KRS

This rather tired take on the buddy cop genre stars comedian Kevin Hart as high-school security guard Ben, who spends his free time playing video-games, much to the chagrin of his fiancée Angela (Tika Sumpter).

Angela’s brother James (rapper/actor Ice Cube), a decor-ated cop in the Atlanta PD, thinks very little of his future brother-in-law. So to earn his approval, Ben decides to join the police academy.

James invites Ben on a ride along (geddit?) with him on one of his shifts, to truly experience life as a cop, hoping to prove that Ben does not have what it takes either as a man in order to marry Angela or as a potential cop about to join the Academy.

But when they stumble on a plot being carried out by the city’s most notorious criminal, both James and Ben have to deal with more than they bargained for.

This is a film rife with buddy comedy/opposites collide/fish-out-of-water clichés that by now have been done to death and so fail to really register on any level let alone a comedy one. There are only so many jokes about Hart’s (lack of) height that we can take, and the slapstick that ensues any time Ben picks up a gun is predictably lame.

Clichés that by now have been done to death

There is a spark of chemistry between Hart and Ice Cube, the one’s manic energy the perfect foil for the other’s permanent scowl and perennial bad temper and initially there is the promise of something better.

Yet, with little in terms of plot to sustain them, this fizzles out soon, and anyway, chemistry alone can’t sustain a feature length film. When Ben’s motor-mouth ramblings and James snappish comebacks start to get tiring, the lack of plot and character development become glaringly obvious.

In the meantime, you get the feeling that supporting players John Leguizamo and Laurence Fishburn are wondering what they are doing here.

The blatant stereotyping – the bad guys are generic Eastern Europeans with bad accents – is obvious; and the depiction Sumpker’s character Angela rather misogynistic.

She is quite happy to be ignored while her fiancé plays video games; she lets her brother choose who she should marry; she spends most of her time in skimpy clothes; she has no life or job to speak of, but sits pretty in a beautiful apartment and has no personality.

Add to that the generic blandness of the many action scenes created to pad the story, and you have a perfect example of lazy writing that sadly characterises too many films today.

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