James Payton: I’m gonna take you on a ride-along.
Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when Kevin Hart and Ice Cube make a BAD BOYS ripoff that is this darn bad? In yet another buddy cop movie, neither Cube nor Hart can make this PG-13 comedy a worthy drive down an all too familiar road. When you can’t improve on a Michael Bay movie, you know you’re in trouble. Past buddy cop flicks, like the classic, LETHAL WEAPON, or even the more recent, 21 JUMP STREET, all have their elements that make them entertaining and exciting, something RIDE ALONG sorely lacks. To call RIDE ALONG a comedy is actually an insult to comedians. Sure, there were a couple of laughs here and there but even Adam Sandler manages those once in a while. RIDE ALONG wreaks like a blatant paycheque movie and, I should note, that is two in a row now for Hart (GRUDGE MATCH, anyone?)
So here is the premise that the writers (four of them, no less) expect you to swallow. Ben (Hart), a rent-a-cop who works at a school but who just got accepted to the police academy, is dating Angela (Tika Sumpter), who is James’ (Cube) sister, and wants James’ approval to marry her. James does not believe that Ben is good enough for his sister, nor does he believe that Ben is good enough to be a real cop. To demonstrate his self-worth to James, Ben agrees to tag alongside his hopeful brother-in law to prove that he is not only cut out for the academy but for Angela as well. Since James wants to see Ben fail, he sets him up for it by putting him in situations that are designed to test Ben’s patience. Naturally, Ben stumbles upon clues and insight into a notorious gang leader, which is supposed to be fodder for one crazy ride along. What is actually crazy though is that the audience is supposed to believe that this all takes place in a twenty four hour span.
Director, Tim Story (THINK LIKE A MAN), who clearly has no issue delivering generic fare to the African American masses, gives away some of the film’s most important plot points in the opening credits, which removes any element of surprise or mystery the film could have had. Aside from the poor construction and lazy writing though, the film’s biggest obstacle is its PG-13 rating. RIDE ALONG has some fairly funny talent at its disposal, and with this restriction, all it does is dispose of that talent. RIDE ALONG is a film that you will wish you had just kept driving past.