Skip to main content
#
The Independent Critic

STARRING
Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Benjamin Bratt, Ken Jeong, Olivia Munn, Bruce McGill, and Tika Sumpter
DIRECTED BY
Tim Story
SCREENPLAY
Matt Manfredi, Phil Hay, Greg Coolidge (Characters)
MPAA RATING
Rated PG-13
RUNNING TIME
101 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Universal Pictures

 "Ride Along 2" Offers a Bigger Budget Without the Bigger Laughs 
Facebook
Twitter
Reddit
LinkedIn
Pinterest
MySpace
Add to favorites
Email

It's easy to understand why Universal Pictures would want to revisit the bromantic coupling of Ice Cube, enjoying a bit of a resurgence thanks to the success of Straight Outta Compton, and funnyman Kevin Hart, who somehow manages to make everyone around him a whole lot funnier. While far from a comedy classic, the original Ride Along was a fresh and funny film with some decent zingers and some truly laugh out loud moments.

Ride Along 2, on the other hand, is an unimaginative retread with a script by Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay that seems to lack any insight into what actually made the original film popular. Ride Along 2 has a bigger budget, but it seems like they've used most of that budget for slo-mo, formulaic action sequences that begin, in an irritating fashion, in the film's opening credits sequence and never let up.

The action switches from Atlanta to Miami. Hart's Ben  Barber is now a rookie cop a week away from his marriage to Angela (Tika Sumpter), the sister of James Payton (Ice Cube), the veteran detective whose permanent scowl seems to indicate that today has definitely not been a good day. The story, and I use that term lightly here, centers around a respected Miami businessman (Benjamin Bratt) who may not be quite as respectable as everyone thinks.

To their credit, both Kevin Hart and Ice Cube are game here despite being saddled with humor vastly inferior to that in Ride Along and despite a script that never really gives anyone the chance to truly cut loose.

I mean, seriously, when was the last time Ken Jeong wasn't allowed to be funny?

Kevin Hart is funny here, though his humor is muted by the film's numerous implausibilities and actions, especially by Ben, that are so outrageously constructed that they pull you out of the action. We're expected to buy into the notion that Hart's Ben has made it all the way through the police academy yet has an approach to police work that is juvenile at best and primed for litigation at worst.

Manfredi and Hay, who also penned the Razzie worthy R.I.P.D., have taken a copy and paste approach that lacks both intelligence and inspiration and leads to comedy bits that feel half-baked and incomplete. Ice Cube, whose acting range consists of "scowl" and "half-scowl" serving as an indication of warmth, has always had a gift for finding films that work within his limited range. It's hard not to get the feeling that about halfway through Ride Along 2, both Hart and Ice Cube figured out that things just weren't working and everything from then on feels like we're coasting to the finish.

Horrible? Not at all. It's simply a shame to see a talented guy like Kevin Hart saddled with material that doesn't begin to live up to his immense comic range. The guy is funny, intelligent, likable and frenzied. Why can't anyone seem to capture that on film?

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic  

    The 50/50 x 2020 Pledge

    The Independent Critic is proud to support Indy-based Heartland Film by committing to the 50/50 x 2020 Pledge - By the end of the year 2020, The Independent Critic will achieve gender parity in its reviews of both shorts and feature films. Furthermore, The Independent Critic also pledges support for the Ruderman Family Foundation's call for authentic representation of people with disabilities in film and actively commits to leverage its journalistic influence to effect genuine change in the film industry by calling for and actively promoting authentic and inclusive casting and hiring of people with disabilities.

    our twitterour facebook page pintrestlinkdin

    The Independent Critic © 2008 - 2020