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Despite not being a masterpiece of comedy, Ride Along is that type of film that is worth watching once in a while simply for the laughs more than anything else.
This buddy-comedy film stars Ice Cube as James Payton, a strict, brusque cop in the Atlanta Police Department who finds himself having to deal with Ben Barber (played by Kevin Hart), a loud-mouthed, naïve, aspiring policeman who is dating James’ sister Angela (Tika Sumpter). In order to give him a chance to prove himself, James allows Ben to come with him on a ‘ride along’ so he can get first-hand experience of what it takes to be a ‘tough’ policeman. Things escalate quickly, and the two find themselves having to catch Omar (Laurence Fishbourne), a ruthless drug lord.
The strong point of the film lies in the two main protagonists; Ice Cube and Kevin Hart provide a good-cop bad-cop relationship that entertains the spectators regularly throughout the film. While the former entertains with his ‘gangsta’ slang and panache talk one would expect from the former N.W.A. member (who played a similar role in the cult film Boyz n The Hood), Hart is the one to provide more comedy throughout the film. The stand-up comedian is funny and constantly over the top, providing a hoard of gags and situations that are strong enough to make the audience laugh out loud.
Unfortunately, this film has many weak points. Firstly, the plot is unoriginal. Despite being constructed in a clear way, a prolific movie-goer can still manage to figure out how the movie is going to end from start to finish. On top of this, the eye-glitching explosions, ear-piercing shootings, clichéd damsel-in-distress situation and the final gun vs. gun confrontations make the movie hollow and overdone. On top of this, the supporting actors don’t do a good job of putting the movie forward. John Leguizamo, who is famous for his role as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in Moulin Rouge and for being the voice of Sid in Ice Age, pulls a lifeless performance as James’ colleague Santiago. He tries to be a ‘tough guy’ like Ice Cube, but his attempts throughout the film visibly lack conviction. Tika Sumpter also pulls a poor performance. Although the former Gossip Girl supporting actress is undeniably beautiful and fleshly, she has the personality and confidence of a coconut. Laurence Fishbourne, who is well known for playing Morpheus in Matrix (and, ironically, for being in Boyz N The Hood like Ice Cube) plays a small role, but it is hard to say whether he could have done a better job off it or not.
These negative aspects, despite being very evident, do little to overshadow the film’s entertainment value. The movie has already topped the box office charts, having collected over $120 million in the United States. This goes to show that perhaps it is only fair for film audiences around the world to enjoy this type of film every now and then. Overall, the movie is guaranteed fun and laughter, and it is a good film to watch when you’re in need of recovering from a long week of work, but perhaps for people who don’t have the right mindset to appreciate this type of film it might be better to stay away.