After another unfulfilling day as a mall cop, Ben (Kevin Hart) gets the amazing news that he has been accepted into Atlanta's Police academy. Excited, he hopes to take his relationship with hot girlfriend Angela (Tika Sumpter) to the next level. There's just one problem: Angela's over-protective brother, veteran police officer James (Ice Cube). To prove to him that he's not just some nerdy videogame junkie, Ben agrees to hang with James for one day, as a ride along.
Director Tim Story (The Fantastic Four) is no stranger to making the most of dudes trying to one up each other. The guy who made Barbershop should be a good fit to deliver outrageous verbal sparring between stoic Ice Cube and chatty Kevin Hart. For the most part he is, but that's really all there is since everything else about the plot is extremely derivative. The film also stars John Leguizamo and Laurence Fishburne. Here are five things to know before going on this ride along:
1. Buddy Cop Movies Can't Be Stopped: In last summer's hit The Heat, Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy were a pair of law folks who clashed constantly and delivered big laughs. Cube and Hart don't not have the same explosive chemistry as Bullock and McCarthy, but there's still plenty of bang for your buck. If Hart's motor mouth antics aren't your thing, you might want to opt out of this ride and wait for the next cop duo movie, which will surely be soon.
2. Sit Back and Let Hart Explain: Like most comedies, Ride Along succeeds (or fails) by just how much bantering between Hart and Cube viewers can take. Ben's enthusiasm for James' hot sister and the need to prove that he can be a real police officer works well enough. James takes Ben on "127" cases, which is code among cops for a crazy annoying situation that won't go away.
3. Kick Move! In the online world of first person war shooters, Ben goes by the handle "Black Hammer." A trip to a real life gun range with James proves that the gamer is not as useless as one might think. Then again, any player whose apartment is decorated by a giant poster of Mass Effect 3 should have mad skills, right? Tons of videogame callouts abound like an 8-bit ringtone. Is screenwriter Phil Hay (Aeon Flux) the real Black Hammer?
4. Hammy Fishburne Works: A late entrance by Morpheus does not disappoint. This is the most relaxed the actor has been in ages. A stand off between the 6-foot tall thespian and Hart is one of the film's highlights.
5. Today Was a Good Day: A clever line reading of one of his most famous lyrics reminds us that Cube is still the genuine article. So why is there no musical number over the end credits? We see a real missed opportunity for some old-school jams, or better yet, a reunion for one of Cube's former rap groups.
(E! and Universal Pictures are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)