“All in all, I got to say, today was a good day.” That’s Ice Cube, nearly self-referential in the buddy cop movie, Ride Along.
Sure, it’s a memorable lyric from one of his best-known songs, but this guy on screen? He’s not Ice Cube anymore. This guy’s safe and predictable, obscured from his former glory by Coors Light ads and TBS spinoffs of his family comedies.
Ride Along is the latest bit of brand extension for Cube and it is, again, safe and predictable. We’re sensing a theme here. Hard to call it reprehensible, hard to call it good, it’s just the movie you expect to see once you hear the setup.
Cube plays an Atlanta cop who is overly protective of his baby sister, especially because she’s about to marry his nightmare, a wise-cracking school security guard named Ben (Kevin Hart). To prove to his sister that Ben’s the wrong guy for her – and to prove to Ben that his dream of becoming a cop is just that – he arranges his brother-in-law-in-waiting to join him for a ride along.
What a great name for a motion picture that would be.
Kevin Hart works very hard in movies. He’s hustling for a laugh, and a lot of the time, he gets them no matter how bad the rest of the film is. But what a shame he hasn’t found a good vehicle yet. Let’s hope that changes soon because the dude’s funny, and that will cease to be the case if he just runs himself dry in rudimentary stuff like this. It’s a movie made for him to steal and he does, but those aren’t very high stakes.
The cop and robbers stuff in Ride Along is plain, Ice Cube’s performance is lazy, and Kevin Hart’s shotgun approach to physical comedy occasionally finds the mark.
But you probably knew that going in.
RIDE ALONG, Ice Cube, Kevin Hart. Directed by Tim Story. PG-13, 100 mins. Opens Friday.