These are golden times for stand-up comedian Kevin Hart. His most recent tour, Laugh At My Pain, and the TV special Let Me Explain were hugely popular and a 30-minute pilot television based around Hart’s high-energy act is currently in production.
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He also currently has two films raking in the dollars at the American box office including this mismatched buddy comedy.
It’s difficult to see what the fuss is about.
Neither as hilarious as it should be, nor as thrilling as it could be, Ride Along shifts lazily through the gears as its protagonists clash during a 24-hour police patrol of Atlanta and unwittingly stumble into a far bigger case involving a shadowy criminal mastermind.
Story’s film has echoes of last summer’s riotous romp, The Heat, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, albeit without the belly laughs or winning screen chemistry between the leads.
The script boasts a couple of arresting one-liners and some slick action set pieces but we’ve screeched down these mean streets countless times before. And with a sequel to Ride Along already in the pipeline, it seems we’re doomed to suffer the blare of police sirens once again next year.
Ride Along knows its audience and panders to them, allowing Hart to riff and wise-crack while Ice Cube rolls his eyes and gets on with the serious business of solving the case.
The 100-minute running time drags and the resolution to the animosity between the two men strains credibility.
Yet both actors possess a certain rough charm despite the weak material, and the final shootout is blessed with a cameo from a well-known star as the enigmatic Omar.