Over the past 10 years, Kevin Hart has gone from a New York staple in the comedy world, part of Colin Quinn’s infamous table at the Comedy Cellar, to become a household name around the globe. Now, in Ride Along, which releases nationwide January 14, 2014, Hart once again finds himself in the hands of Think Like a Man director Tim Story and producer Will Packer. This time, however, Hart’s enthusiastic energy has been partnered with one of the best straight man in the comedy world, Ice Cube.
Screen Rant traveled to Atlanta to visit the set of the buddy copy movie Ride Along, to not only see if lightening really can strike twice for Hart, Story and Pack (in two separate franchises, no less), but to see how Hollywood’s most underrated comedy producer, Ice Cube, handles the mile-a-minute comedy superstar whose profile only continues to rise.
Angela James (Tika Sumpter) and Ben Barber (Kevin Hart)
The plot of Ride Along is this, essentially: Hart plays Ben Barber, a high school security guard, who joins the Atlanta Police Academy in hopes of impressing his girlfriend Angela’s (Tika Sumpter) brother, Detective James (Ice Cube), enough for James to give Ben his blessing to marry Angela. But James has other plans for Ben and, instead, offers to take him on a ride along, so he can prove himself, in the field, with real criminals. John Leguizamo and Bryan Callen also star, as partners working in the same precinct as James.
“First of all,” Hart says, “this is a modernized version of what those [buddy cop movies] where, and I think now, in our time frame… this type of movie is missing; you know what I mean? I think literally what me and Cube have found is a way to do it and be funny, but at the same time, tell a real story, and not be too commercial with it, but make a comedy that is a comedy. “…Our movie is ten times funnier than Training Day,” adds Cube, laughing. “I’m gonna let you know that; you know what I’m saying?”
From Video Village – an open tent with chairs, monitors showing each camera angle and headphones to listen to the audio – we watched at as the core cast – Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Tika Sumpter, John Leguizamo and Bryan Callen – film a pivotal scene from the third act of the movie. In the scene (barring any major spoilers), Hart attempts to surreptitiously enter a house that has been taken over by the criminal mastermind of the film (who is played by an extremely-well known yet to be announced). Unfortunately, or hilariously, Hart’s character Ben has been drugged, and he takes it upon himself to kick things off by jumping through a living room window, alone, ready for a fight.
Ben (Hart) and James (Cube)
In most comedies – unlike Training Day – the third act is really only used to help tie up the actual story at hand, than to highlight the most comedic moments of the film. What’s most surprising, though, is that lines being delivered are as strong as the first act of most comedies. More importantly, though, through Harts energetic, yet hilarious, performance, he is able to ground the scene in comedy while also making it feel real enough that you are earnestly interested in seeing how the film ends. (There aren’t many comedies which can say the same.)
Training Day is its own thing, but we took heart from that, and then the funny we kind of created out of these situations,” notes Cube. “Now I gotta tiptoe; I gotta dance. So, you borrow what’s good – but we [were] watching Midnight Run, too. It’s a lot of great comedy, and it’s a lot of What About Bob? kind of stuff in this, too, because Kevin is annoying; you know what I mean? You wanna just fly swat him; you know what I’m saying? Because he just knows how to take me from being the coolest cop in the room to wanting to choke him. He gets you there. So, it’s a little bit out of all these movies – but better – because it’s all wrapped up into one.”
Check out more photos from Ride Along below: