Can we all agree that Ice Cube is a national treasure?
It might not even be long before Kevin Hart reaches that status too. Right now, he’s threatening for that title. After already being embraced by the black community at large as Katt Williams’ replacement as the black comedian, Kevin Hart is beginning to become beloved by white people as well.
I don’t understand it.
I don’t love Kevin Hart. But I don’t hate Kevin Hart either. I just think his widespread success is more than what is deserved considering his comedy and persona. That sounds awful, but I don’t intend for that to sound damning or disrespectful. I certainly appreciate Kevin Hart more than Aziz Ansari—at least Kevin Hart’s stand-up has made me laugh. There are certainly better stand-up comedians, but Kevin Hart’s potential crossover success will come as a result of movies like Ride Along.
Without question, Kevin Hart possesses an undeniable energy and aura of likability. Although he hasn’t approached an Eddie Murphy level, but I think Kevin Hart could arguably be in the same ballpark with a well-written, more serious role in a comedy that could put him over the top. Ride Along has a recycled buddy cop story featuring Ice Cube as a deadly serious, do it all himself type of detective—with Cube playing the straight man to Kevin Hart’s crazy, out-of-control wannabe cop.
And Kevin Hart carries the movie.
If we all agree to forget or at least forgive the first 15 minutes, then Ride Along is actually a pretty good movie. Once Ice Cube and Kevin Hart finally share the screen, their chemistry is readily apparent and they sell the lame potential brother-in-law angle (Kevin Hart is black hammering Ice Cube’s sister). I expected this movie to be truly terrible, but Ride Along delivers some decent laughs and a handful of literally laugh out loud moments—a considerable achievement for any comedy.
Ride Along doesn’t aspire to any lofty standard, but it’s a solid comedy if taken tongue-in-cheek.
Outside of the shared screen time and camaraderie between Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, there’s not much else there as the story and supporting cast aren’t great comic relief. John Leguizamo and Bryan Callen aren’t called on to do much aside from fulfilling flat, one-dimensional roles as fellow cops. Despite a poorly written, comically bad villain role, Laurence Fishburne does reasonably well with what is provided.
The downfall of Ride Along is absolutely the story as you’ll have difficulty remembering anything about it a month or so down the line. But the writing isn’t all bad since you’ll undoubtedly crack up on occasion, and that comedic success is due to both the writers’ set-ups and actors’ timing/execution. With such a bland story, it’s not surprising to find out that (at least) 4 different writers had a hand in the script.
Ultimately, Ride Along is about 10 minutes too long despite a relatively short 99-minute runtime.
Most importantly, Ride Along delivers what it promises…the laughs. Maybe it’s not deserving of being No. 1 at the box office, but this movie is more worthwhile than most shitty comedies being made—especially when you consider that Tyler Perry still has a dedicated fan base regardless of the garbage he produces.
While I hope Ride Along doesn’t inspire a sequel (which could be inevitable considering its commercial success), this movie could be a springboard to launch Kevin Hart into superstardom. If nothing else, Ice Cube has officially transformed from AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted to being fully embraced by White America.