Haven’t seen a good movie in theaters for a while and looking for something new and exciting to watch? Ride Along, which opened in theaters across the nation on Jan. 17, is one movie you might want to check out. Starring funnyman Kevin Hart and hip hop artist and producer Ice Cube, Ride Along keeps the laughs and action coming through the entire 100 minutes of film. Rated PG-13, this movie is a good film for teens and adults alike.
While the cop-and-sidekick theme is certainly not a new one (Hot Fuzz, The Other Guys, Rush Hour, and Beverly Hills Cop are some of the most memorable), the actual story for Ride Along seems to be original. And at a time when most of the movies out there are remakes of movies or books, or even remakes of remakes, originality is much appreciated.
The story line follows Ben Barber (played by Kevin Hart), a security guard, who wants to propose to his girlfriend, Angela. Angela (Tika Sumpter) is the sister of tough cop James Payton (Ice Cube), whose permission Ben wants to get before proposing. Naturally, James isn’t entirely keen on the idea of anyone marrying his sister and tries to put Ben to the test by inviting him on a “ride-along.” The result is laugh-out-loud, good-old slapstick humor, eventually ending in a major crime scene that (of course) will allow Ben to prove is his worth.
Both Ice Cube and Kevin Hart will be major draws for the movie, each providing an agreeable contrast to the other (serious vs. comedic). Ice Cube has acted in films for close to two decades now, playing in action and comedy films like Anaconda, Barbershop, and 21 Jump Street, among others. Kevin James is a known comedian and has had success with his own stand-up albums. He has been acting in both film and television for the past decade.
Ride Along has received mixed reviews so far, with Forbes Magazine and The New York Daily News panning the movie despite its comedic value, and editors at the Huffington Post throwing praises at it. CBS took a decidedly negative stance on the action film as well, noting the draw of big name actors and the many laughs, but tsk-tsk-ing at the seeming disregard for the serious nature of gun violence.
Movie critic writes, “If this were a more confident comedy, it wouldn’t need so many drawn guns and so much over-the-top cartoon violence, which it traffics in to a ridiculous and dispiriting degree, starting with the off-putting opening sequence. So we’ll team up with 2 stars out of 4 for Ride Along, an unambitious, paint-by-numbers, buddy-cop flick that pulls up short even though it’s got its Hart in the right place.”
The 24-hour ride-along through Atlanta starts off with Ben failing many of the tests that hard-core cop James sets up for him, but leaves the audience cracking up at a number of points. You can tell that Ice Cube and Kevin Hart had a blast shooting the film, and there are even rumors of Universal preparing for a sequel.
Tim Story is the director, and had worked with both actors before — on Barbershop with Cube and Think Like a Man with Hart. Ride Along has been compared to comedic hits like Rush Hour and 48 Hrs. with the obvious hope being that perhaps a franchise can be made out of the film.
So if you’re looking for some good laughs, definitely give Ride Along a try. If however, you are worried about gun violence, you might not want you younger teens watching the film. Similarly, if you’re looking for something with more substance than just simple slapstick humor, you’d be better off trying something a little more like American Hustle or Saving Mr. Banks. Whatever you see, enjoy!