‘Ride Along’ Review

Published 1 year ago by , Updated October 17th, 2014 at 9:15 pm,

ride along movie review Ride Along Review

Is mostly just a mashup of watered-down action/comedy tropes (think Rush Hour) and uninspired slapstick that is less imaginative than that featured in last year’s female buddy-cop comedy The Heat.

Ride Along introduces us to Atlanta cop James Payton (Ice Cube), an authoritative and stubbornly independent officer of the law who has nothing but contempt for diminutive, fast-talking high school security guard Ben Barber (Kevin Hart), who’s stolen the heart of James’ sister, Angela (Tika Sumpter). When Ben is accepted to the police academy, he decides to ask James for his blessing to propose to Angela, which the latter agrees to give Ben on the condition that he accompany James for a day at work (read: a “ride along”) and prove himself worthy.

James takes advantage of every opportunity he has to make Ben miserable and convince him that he’s not cut out to wield a badge, while secretly investigating further into a dangerous case. Will Ben manage to impress his girlfriend’s over-protective brother and prove that he has what it takes to uphold the law? (Answer: Take a wild guess.)

Ride Along is directed by Tim Story, who specializes in broad entertainment, be it the quirky action-comedy Taxi, good-natured dramedy Barbershop or the cartoony Fantastic Four movies from the mid-aughts. His new variation on the buddy-cop formula has the occasional satisfying and/or funny moment, but is mostly just a mashup of watered-down action/comedy tropes (think Rush Hour) and uninspired slapstick that is less imaginative than that featured in last year’s female buddy-cop comedy The Heat.

ride along ice cube kevin hart1 570x294 Ride Along Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart in ‘Ride Along’

Cube and Hart turn out to be an okay pairing, though it’s really the latter who deserves the credit for making this union even a half-success. Cube constantly scowls and drops PG-13 expletives throughout Ride Along‘s running time, yet he does so with little enthusiasm or charisma; that James is also an unlikeable and belligerent maverick who’s borderline sociopathic (think John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard) makes him fail as the empathetic straight-man. Ironic, given how Cube the rapper probably would’ve rallied against portraying this abuse of authority for comical effect back in his youth – but that’s another discussion.

As for Hart, he makes an admirable effort to sell every lame joke, slapstick routine or zany scenario that Ben is given, but his palpable energy doesn’t save the movie – though it does make it go down easy. Part of the problem is that it feels as though Hart needed to have an R-Rated or edgier PG-13 action/comedy template for him to flex his funnyman muscles properly, like what Eddie Murphy had in Beverly Hills Cop. Unfortunately, the Ride Along script written by Greg Coolidge (Sorority Boys), Jason Mantzoukas (Childrens Hospital) and writing duo Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (R.I.P.D.) instead saddles Hart with bland wisecracks about his height, sensitive nature and “hammer.”

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Tika Sumpter and Kevin Hart in ‘Ride Along’

That the Ride Along screenplay is predictable to a fault doesn’t come as a surprise, but the supporting characters (which can provide buddy-cop movies with more “fizz”) aren’t given enough idiosyncrasy or charm to make up for the difference. John Leguizamo (Kick-Ass 2) can be an engaging screen presence, but he and Bryan Callen (The Hangover Part II) are stuck playing James’ personality-less peers, and exist primarily to advance the plot whenever called upon. As for Tika Sumpter (Sparkle) as Angela: she’s there to serve as eye candy and not much else.

Seasoned character actor Bruce McGill (Lincoln) portrays James’ disapproving boss Lt. Brooks, but he plays the role oddly serious rather than hamming it up. That goes for the cast as a whole, including cameos by the likes of Jacob Latimore (Black Nativity) and a special appearance that I won’t spoil (avoid the film’s IMDb page if you don’t want to know) – they all seem to be going through the motions playing either generic archetypes or banal caricatures. Well, again, save for Hart, that is.

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Bryan Callen and John Leguizamo in ‘Ride Along’

Story is able to stage the movie’s few action sequences with satisfactory flair, though he and editor Craig Alpert (The Campaign) prove unable to infuse the multiple comedy set pieces with much energy or creative spark. By the time the film winds down to the inevitable third-act narrative payoffs and Cube/Hart complete their character arcs, Ride Along has shown to be little more than a forgettable addition to the buddy-cop genre.

Still, Kevin Hart manages to prove here that he’s deserving of a better comedy vehicle to showcase his talents. So, if Ride Along does perform well at the box office, at least that’ll improve the chances of Hart getting another opportunity to breakout in the future.

In case you’re still undecided, here is the trailer for Ride Along:

518008059 3 725 498 Ride Along Review


Ride Along is now playing in theaters. It is 100 minutes long and Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, sexual content and brief strong language.

Our Rating:

2 out of 5

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
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  1. Anthony’s gonna be really angry with you Sandy. ;)

    • Haha, yeah. At least I can say his boy Kevin Hart did alright in the movie.

      • Hi,

        Screen Rant’s new mobile version is nice, and devoid of previous issues. It’s appreciated.

        However, TV/movie ratings cannot be viewed on the mobile site. Please remedy.

        Thank you

  2. Anthony’s gonna be angry with you Sandy. ;)

  3. i will probably see this i just hope the trailer isn’t the best of jokes from the movie

  4. Eh, I don’t have any interest in this movie. I only clicked the link to see how the author rated this movie.

  5. Not surprised by the review or the rating. Haven’t seen one black movie receive a high review on this site unless it involved slavery. Either the reviewers can’t relate to black art & expression or the ratings are predetermined from the cast, directors & subject matter of the movies. Not saying ride along is a 5 star movie just saying from what I have witnessed on this site no black movie is but 4 to5 stars can be predicted by this site before a single scene is watched on movies like American Hustle & Wolf on Wall Street. I’m sure I can list a white cast dominated movie that has not been released yet & predict 4 to 5 stars from this site before it is listed, just stay tuned.

    • …wtf?

    • Maybe you should actually SEE this movie before “subtly” yelling racist.

      • And BTW … Wolf of Wall Street was definitely 4.5 out of 5

    • The Best Man Holiday was rated ‘Very Good’. I’m pretty sure it didn’t involve slavery…

    • Nah dude, the movie just sucked. Kevin Hart can’t really act, Ice Cube is a shell of his former self, and the script…oh, the script…just dreadfully unfunny. Also, this isn’t “black art” because there is no such thing as black art. Art is art. The race of the artists makes no difference.

  6. Agree with the review. Saw it last night. Kevin Hart = Funny. And … that’s about it. Ice Cube’s acting was incredibly annoying in this movie. It was like he was the character from the beer commercials he is in the entire time. Would have liked to see some of his Barbershop acting, but oh well.

    • OMG I agree with you so much I thought that Ice Cube was not the right man to play that role. And the story needed some work but I laughed a lot at Kevin Hart.

  7. I somewhat agree with Manning. It honestly feels like the reviewers for these movies have a presumption of a movie before actually seeing the movie. Even if one overlooked the whole black movie/white movie concept it still feels like the reviewers don’t have original ideas about these movies and instead regurgitate cliche criticism from other well known popular reviewers. You can always predict what they’ll give a movie before even reading the review.

    • I wholeheartedly disagree with you. Maybe you think you’re listening to people say the same things because…you’re reading reviews about the same movie. SR’s writers know what they’re talking about and know their way around storytelling/source material/effective execution; saying they’re regurgitating what others are saying is a pitiful accusation to make. How about you talk about your favorite TV show and why you like it in a few paragraphs (you better not “regurgitate” what I’ve already heard others say about it, though).

      It’s funny you say that you can predict what scores a movie will get before reading a review – it shows you’re in fact the one who holds a presumption before seeing the movie, yet are conveniently only willing to accuse others of it.

      But while you’re here voicing your much appreciated thoughts, maybe you can enlighten all of us and list the exact scores of ‘That Awkward Moment,’ ‘The Monuments Men,’ ‘The Lego Movie,’ ‘Robocop,’ and ‘Pompeii’ to save us the suspense since “you can always predict what they’ll give a movie before even reading the review.”

      Let us see that magic at work then, smart guy.

      • oooooo burnnn! you got me. Taught me a lesson. My life is over! hahahah

        I’m not arguing with you over this. That was my opinion. Were all entitled to our own opinions. That ranges from the reviewers of this site, to me criticizing them, to you dick riding them. You don’t agree with what I say? Guess what? Oh well!

        • Where does it say you are “entitled” to your opinion?
          People say this, but I haven’t seen it in any legal document stating that me, you, or anybody is “entitled” to their opinion.

          Also, just cause you have an opinion, that somehow guards or protects you and your opinion from being called out?
          No such protection exists.
          If you’re going to come to a public website and post your opinion, then you’re accepting that others may disagree with you, and some may even challenge you and your opinion.
          If you don’t like or want that, then keep your opinions to yourself.
          Choosing to state your opinion for others to see gives everyone else an opportunity to agree or disagree with your opinion.

          To the point at hand, there are a LOT of “white” dominated cast movies that score very low. And, there are a lot that get great scores.
          Why? Because most movies are dominated by white actors.
          Why? Because the US population is mostly white people, or people who consider themselves white. Hispanic people are becoming the majority, but “Hispanic” includes white as well. Spanish people are white Europeans. “Hispanic” category needs to be made clearer.

          Anyway, black people are about 14-17% of the US population, which means that there will be less movies made where the cast is black dominated.
          What you need to look at is the percentage of “white” dominated cast movies ratings compared to “black” dominated cast movies. That will give a better indication of what’s going on.

          Just because a movie has a black dominate cast doesn’t mean it should automatically be considered great. Contrary to what some population groups may think of themselves, that doesn’t mean that the products produced are that great.
          There are a LOT of white dominated cast movies that simply SUCK. But I don’t read or hear white folks complaining they didn’t win because their cast was white.

      • 2.5,3.5 (you guys love Clooney) ,2,4 for robocop , 1.5. Just guessing!

    • I’m the type of black person who will NOT HESITATE to address a “racist situation,” but I disagree with you. Nothing racist about it. It’s sad to say, but for the most part black movies tend to suck. Just being honest. As a matter of fact I was SHOCKED by how entertaining The Best Man Holiday actually turned out to be? In fact I avoided watching it the best I could, but my wife eventually won that battle and I’m glad she did lol. Anyway short of the old “classics” like “The Color Purple,” “Boyz in da Hood,” “Juice,” etc. I can’t even think of any off the top of my head? It’s a REAL challenge when you try to think of any that don’t involve “gangsta life” or slavery and besides “Friday” I struggle to think of any good comedies? And FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY PLEEASE do not mention the disgrace that is Tyler Perry.

      By the way I’m not saying none exist? I’m sure there are a few. I just can’t think of any off the top of my head at the moment.

        • Lol. I actually loved every movie you mentioned besides Miracle at St. Anna and ATL. Love and Basketball actually made me think of Brown Sugar and Love and Basketball (one of my favorite movies of all time) as well. Won’t lie. I’m feeling kind of bad now lol.

          • I meant to say Love JONES was one of my favorite movies of all time.

  8. i would give it 3 stars but i came in with accurate expectations. it was going to be kevin hart acting a fool and ice cube acting tough. check and check.

  9. I have no complaints with this review. James was a jerk in the movie. I enjoyed Ride Along but I got to see it for free.

  10. I totally agree with this review. But it was still fun being in Philly for the red carpet premiere with Kevin & Cube. Even got quick interviews. Check out Tinsel & Tine!

  11. U are a hater they all r laughing with cash in the bank number 1 movie two weeks now so I don’t think they care about wut u think

  12. Ice cube needs to stop making movies…he is terrible. Remember the colors light commercial with Zeus??? Need I saw more???

    • Coors light and say. Lol