“It’s impossible not to think about what’s been done or who’s been in the realms of films like this before you,” adds Hart. “You think of Eddie Murphy in 48 Hrs; you think of Martin [Lawrence] in Bad Boys; you think Chris Tucker; and these guys all were all able to be themselves and put themselves in that fish out of water environment but be believable – but I think that’s what’s important when you do these films. It’s not about just being funny; it’s about being funny in a real life situation, so people can believe that you’re actually that guy. So for me, pulling from Murphy and Rock and all these guys that we just went through is definitely a huge aspect of acting.”
With a script originally penned by Sorority Boys writer Greg Collidge and The League’s Jason Mantzoukas (Raffi), Ride Along began its journey into production with an impressive amount of talent already behind it. After Cube, Story and Packer came on board, aspects of the script were tweaked to better fit their vision for the film. With an impressive number of successfully produced comedies under his belt, the past has proven that Cube’s “tweaking” may very well be his secret to comedy gold.
“It’s just straight man, funny man stuff,” Cube says, nonchalantly. “You just stay in your lane. You get somebody that’s extremely talented and just do the dance, and have fun, and make sure the set is lively. You guys are here on the action day but, usually, everybody’s running around here laughing, and Kevin is cracking jokes, fucking with people all the time. I think that atmosphere spills onto the screen, and we’re having a lot of fun. I believe we’ve done it again, and that’s a beautiful feeling. Even though we in the fourth quarter, we gotta finish strong. But we got a lot of funny shit in the can – a lot!”
Though it’s true that we were there for an “action day”, the crew didn’t want us go home without seeing a bit of what was already shot. So, after a bit of searching, someone found and cued up a highlight reel for us to watch, which largely consisted of extended versions of the scenes you’ll find in the first trailer (below). All in all, it appears that Cube’s acknowledgment of it just being “straight man, funny man stuff” may be a bit of an understatement.
Cube, Story and Hart between takes
In Hart’s past films, such as Think Like a Man, or even Death at a Funeral, he has already proven that he can steal a scene on his own with but a look and/or witty remark. In Ride Along, however, Hart’s performance appears to be strengthened by Ice Cube’s presence on-screen, allowing him to reach a new level in his career because now, well, he now has a partner – a comedy partner. Though Cube’s straight man demeanor, he’s able to tether Hart’s over-the-top, hilarious hi-jinks to the story at hand, by helping drive the thru-line of the two actually being a part of a working police force, helping to make sure that Hart’s performance never outstays its welcome.
“Well for me… there’s definitely a line,” says Hart of his on-screen persona. ”Like I said, the thing you want to maintain is a sense of believably. You know, you don’t want to go too far to where it’s a cartoon – and to know you’re doing slapstick, and it’s, oh God, it’s too far – it’s too much – or your eyes are just bulging, and it makes no sense. So for me there’s a fine line not to cross, and I think that’s where a lot of my comedy comes in, and I think that’s why my fan base has grown, because regardless of what I’m talking about, people believe it and you [say], ‘Okay, I can put myself in that situation and see how this would happen.’ And working with Tim Story and Will Packer, I think we’ve done a great job of keeping me in that believable realm of acting, so I definitely don’t want to go too far, so we put limits on it.
As to whether or Ride Along will become the next bit comedy franchise, Ice Cube already knows where he stands: “Hell yeah – it better! If not, we didn’t do a good job.”
You can check out the first trailer for Ride Along below:
Ride Along releases nationwide, January 14, 2014.