”Ride Along” is the cinematic equivalent of a shopping center food court meal – you know exactly what you’re going to get, so you rarely walk away disappointed.
The ‘black buddy-cop comedy’ conveyer belt, which cranked back into high-gear a few years ago following the popularity of urban two-hander “Rush Hour”, produces another tin of mismatched machismo, bloke-friendly humour and spiffy stunts with a Ice Cube/Kevin Hart number.
The screenplay (which boasts no less than four writers) sees fast-talking security guard Ben (Hart, on the up-and-up thanks to) spending some time ‘on the job’ with his cop brother-in-law James (Ice Cube, fresh from a terrific supporting turn as the Captain in the “21 Jump Street” movie) who needs to be convinced that Ben’s the right man to marry his sister Angela (Tika Sumpter).
While James puts Ben through the paces, and Ben starts displaying some genuine detective skills, the duo get caught up in a big-time case.
There’s no denying the singular specialties of Cube and Hart, two of today’s most entertaining film stars. Melding Cube’s commanding and imposing charm with Hart’s loud, crazy charm works fairly well here.
Take the headline acts out of the film though and you’re left with a smirk movie – you know the kind, movies that can’t quite punch a laugh from the gut, but might spur a smirk or half-smile, if even rarely.
While director Tim Story (“Barbershop”) keeps the thing afloat, it’s really Cube and Hart holding the planks in place. Though the actors are merely doing a riff on Denzel and Ethan Hawke from “Training Day” – with a skin-colour change and less sombre attitudes – one imagines the film’s humour, and most amusing moments, was discovered on the set – the actors experimenting until they found the best beats.
So long as you’re up for McDonalds, and not a Lobster meal, you won’t find “Ride Along” intolerable.